Striving to Improve Heart Health Outcomes For Minority Patients

As we celebrate World Diabetes Day, we’re reminded of the significance of health awareness. With more than 100 million Americans living with diabetes or pre-diabetes, the risk of developing chronic conditions like heart disease is very real—especially for minority populations.

On Oct. 29, WomenHeart attended the National Minority Cardiovascular Alliance (NMCA) Town Hall to learn more about the role heart disease plays in communities of color and the minority patients’ experience.

“There are many in the African-American community who fail to visit a doctor out of fear of learning bad news about their health,” says WomenHeart Champion Faith Robinson. “I’ve seen it firsthand as a nurse.” Faith was part of an insightful panel on heart disease and minorities that included University of Washington Pediatric Cardiologist Jason Dean, M.D., and David Lee Hawks, deputy director of the National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians (NCAPIP).

The panel discussion—moderated by Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Public Health Advisor Kristi Fultz-Butts, MPH—revealed some of the day-to-day challenges facing minority populations, including health insurance denials, access to care in rural areas, and general lack of health awareness. “More community-based research, like NIH studies and clinical trials are needed, especially for women,” said David Lee Hawks.

The NCMA, established by The Make Well Foundation, is a forum comprised of thought leaders from various health and advocacy organizations to address cardiovascular challenges facing minorities. Among the town hall attendees were representatives from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), and Mended Hearts. To learn more about the NMCA and how you can get involved, please visit online here.

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