Observances

April is National Minority Health Month, a time to focus on minority health issues and reducing health disparities. This year’s theme, “Bridging Health Equity Across Communities,” will address the social determinants of health and acknowledge the contributions of community partners across various sectors toward achieving health equity. By addressing and working to improve the social determinants of health—factors such as employment, education, justice, public safety and other social factors—we can strengthen the foundation of better health for our community. We invite all individuals and organizations to take action in helping communities achieve their full potential for health.

On Saturday, April 15, in observance of Minority Health Month, please join AAHP for 2017 Community Day to celebrate those working in employment, education, justice, public safety and other public sectors that help build a stronger foundation for better health in Montgomery County. You can also get involved by joining the conversation at the Department of Health and Human Service's #Bridge2Health Twitter Town Hall on April 12 at 1:00 pm. AAHP will also participate in the National Public Health Association's National Public Health Week Twitter Chat on April 5, from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm.

 

We invite all individuals and organizations to take action in helping communities achieve their full potential for health.

 

We invite all individuals and organizations to take action in helping communities achieve their full potential for health.

 

We invite all individuals and organizations to take action in helping communities achieve their full potential for health.

 

 

We invite all individuals and organizations to take action in helping communities achieve their full potential for health.

 

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, a time to focus on colon cancer, the third leading cause of cancer death among men and women. African Americans continue to have the highest incidence, highest mortality, and lowest survival among any other racial group. Various studies have shown that African Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer at an earlier age and present with more advanced stages of cancer. 

Fortunately, colorectal cancer is highly preventable. Making healthy lifestyle choices and getting regular screenings are critical. Screening tests help prevent colorectal cancer by finding precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Polyps don’t always cause symptoms, so many people do not know they have them. Treatment is most effective when cancer is detected early. Current data suggests that African Americans are a high-risk population in need of earlier screening. While the CDC recommends that Americans begin colorectal cancer screening starting at age 50, the American College of Gastroenterology and the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopists recommend screenings for African Americans to begin at age 45.

AAHP offers a wealth of resources and services for cancer prevention, including our free free customized health referrals. Find more information here.

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Rebecca Davis Lee Crumpler (1831-1895) was the first African American female physician in the U.S. Born in Delaware and raised in Pennsylvania, Dr. Crumpler graduated from the New England Female Medical College (which later merged into Boston University) in 1864. She first practiced medicine in Boston, serving poor women and children. After the Civil War ended, she moved to Richmond, Virginia where she worked for the Freedman's Bureau providing medical care to freed slaves. The Rebecca Lee Society, one of the first medical societies for African American women, was named in her honor.

On National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD), we focus on educating and mobilizing the African American community in response to the HIV/AIDS crisis. According to AIDSVu, in 2013, the number of African American Montgomery County residents living with diagnosed HIV was almost 30 times the number of white Montgomery County residents living with diagnosed HIV, although African Americans make up roughly 17% of the population. We must equip our homes, communities, workplaces, and places of worship with the tools needed to take a stand against HIV/AIDS.

AAHP is committed to closing the HIV disparity by providing resources and testing that help combat this deadly disease among African Americans in Montgomery County. In observance of NBHAAD, on February 9, AAHP's Executive Coalition will host an informational presentation on HIV/AIDS among African Americans in Montgomery County. We invite Montgomery County residents to join us for this special meeting. Please see details in our events calendar.

 

Each first Friday in February, AAHP observes American Heart Association’s National Wear Red Day to raise awareness about the #1 killer in the United States: cardiovascular disease. Although many people believe heart disease impacts more men than women, heart disease disproportionally affects women in general and African American women in particular. Cardiovascular disease is the result of an accumulation of fatty acid (plaque) build-up in the coronary arteries which obstructs the flow of blood to the heart, potentially leading to heart attack or stroke. Because women may experience symptoms with or without chest pains and symptoms overall are generally more subtle, women are more likely to miss or ignore the warning signs of this deadly disease.

This Friday, February 3, 2017 will mark 15 years of raising awareness about heart disease in women on National Wear Red Day. In those years, millions of women have empowered themselves with information on how to prevent heart disease. By making behavior changes such as increasing physical activity, eating a more nutritious diet, checking cholesterol levels regularly, and partnering with doctors to develop heart health plans, women have significantly reduced their risk of heart disease. Still, one in three women will die of heart disease and stroke each year.

AAHP encourages everyone to wear red on Friday to observe National Wear Red Day. In addition, learn about AAHP’s Diabetes/Heart Health focus area and the services we offer to improve the heart health of African Americans in Montgomery County. 

January 1, 2017

New Year, New You

It’s 2017, a brand new year to build your best life. If you’ve decided to make 2017 the year you succeed in losing weight and getting healthy and fit, you have a partner in AAHP. We provide culturally relevant tools, support, and other resources that address obesity from a holistic approach through programming across our six focus areas. African Americans have the highest prevalence of obesity among all ethnic/racial groups, which corresponds with health disparities that place African Americans squarely at the bottom. As AAHP works to strengthen the health of African Americans in Montgomery County, we encourage everyone to make their health a top priority in 2017. The priceless reward of better health will be well worth every bit of effort.

December 1, 2016

World AIDS Day 2016

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December 1 is World AIDS Day, a day to recognize the progress made in HIV prevention and treatment and re-commit ourselves to an HIV-free future. More than 36.7 million people are living with HIV/AIDS worldwide, including more than 1.2 million people in the U.S. According to AIDSVu, in 2013, the number of African American Montgomery County residents living with diagnosed HIV was almost 30 times the number of white Montgomery County residents living with diagnosed HIV, although African Americans make up roughly 17% of the population. AAHP continues to work hard to address this alarming disparity by providing education, counseling, testing and other resources for African Americans in Montgomery County. Learn more here.
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The African American Health Program invites everyone to observe American Diabetes Month to learn more about diabetes and the tens of millions of people affected by it. According to the 2014 National Diabetes Statistics Report published by the CDC, 29.1 million Americans have diabetes. African Americans suffer disproportionately from diabetes, representing 13.2% of diagnosed cases. African Americans are also more likely than any other racial/ethnic group to experience diabetes-related health issues like kidney disease, vision loss, amputation, heart attack and stroke. Diabetes is one of the most pressing health concerns facing the African American community. This month, AAHP will launch a new approach to diabetes and chronic disease prevention and management. Stay tuned for more information about the kickoff event co-hosted by the American Diabetes Association.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among African American women in the U.S. Unfortunately, according to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer rates among African American women are rising. After decades of lower prevalence rates compared to white women, that gap is now closing. African American women also continue to have higher mortality rates than women of other races/ethnicities. 

In general, African American women with breast cancer are 42% more likely to die from it than white women. African American women may have more delays in pursuing follow-up treatment after an abnormal mammogram are more likely to receive diagnoses at later stages. Late diagnoses and delayed treatment correlate to higher mortality rates, contributing to the survival gap between African American women and white women. African American women also have higher rates of triple negative breast cancer, a deadlier subtype of breast cancer.

Although breast cancer screenings do not prevent breast cancer, they help detect it early, when treatment is more likely to be successful. The American Cancer Society recommends that women begin having yearly mammograms by the age of 45.

As with other types of cancer and chronic diseases, a healthy diet, an active lifestyle, and avoiding tobacco and alcohol can help prevent breast cancer. Getting regular exercise lowers a woman's risk of breast cancer 10% - 25% compared to women who do not exercise at all. Alcohol consumption increases breast cancer risk by 7% - 10% for each drink per day. Lack of exercise and alcohol consumption both contribute to obesity, and obesity increases the risk of breast cancer.

Learn more about breast cancer, download helpful resources, donate, or get involved at www.nationalbreastcancer.org. 

Sources: American Cancer SocietySusan G. KomenNational Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the US (after skin cancer). Age and race heighten the risk for prostate cancer, with men over 65 and men of African descent disproportionally affected by the disease. While treatment for prostate cancer is generally very effective and most men do not die from it, African American men are more likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer with higher mortality rates. African American men are almost 1.6 times more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer and are 2.4 times more likely to die from it than Caucasian men. In Montgomery County specifically, the age-adjusted death rate from prostate cancer among African American men (per 100,000 males) was 28.1, compared to 16.7 for Caucasian men.

Obesity, smoking, lack of vegetables in the diet, lack of exercise, and family history are all linked to aggressive prostate cancer. While it is generally understood that a combination of lifestyle factors, inadequate health care, and genetic predisposition account for the higher rates of prostate cancer among men of African descent, much still remains to be understood regarding this alarming disparity.

Older men, and men with a family history of prostate cancer should talk to their doctors about prostate cancer screenings. Prevention through diet modification holds great promise in reducing one's chances for developing prostate cancer. Antioxidants found in tomatoes and broccoli have been shown to prevent cancer, and prostate cancer specifically. In a recent study, eating tomatoes and broccoli together proved to be even more effective at fighting cancer than eating either alone.
This year, we celebrate the five-year anniversary of The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding, which outlines specific steps to provide society-wide support of breastfeeding mothers and babies. The document emphasizes the importance of breastfeeding, documents breastfeeding rates across various US populations, and places a firm call to action to family members, communities, clinicians, health care systems, and employers to help make breastfeeding the easy choice for mothers. As a result, the breastfeeding field has grown tremendously and the rate of breastfeeding continues to increase.

Breastfeeding is essential because it protects babies from health issues and illnesses such as diarrhea, ear infections and pneumonia. Breastfed babies are also less likely to develop asthma, become obese as children, or die from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Breastfeeding mothers also have a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancers. Unfortunately, African American women have much lower rates of breastfeeding compared to White women. African American mothers need stronger and more focused support to start and continue breastfeeding.

AAHP is proud to serve African American mothers and mothers of African descent in Montgomery County as we collectively work towards building a brighter, healthier future for our children, with breastfeeding at the forefront of that cause. We offer a wealth of resources and support initiatives for breastfeeding through the SMILE program and other initiatives.
July is Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, African Americans are 20% more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the general population. Common mental health disorders among African Americans include depression, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), suicide, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which are often rooted in socioeconomic conditions like poverty, homelessness and violence. Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia also disproportionally impact African Americans because of lack of access to health care. The perception of mental illness and depression as personal weaknesses and the tendency to manage mental health issues within the family and church community also hinder African Americans from seeking professional medical treatment. 

To further advance the African American Health Program (AAHP)'s commitment to the total health and wellness of African Americans and persons of African descent in Montgomery County, AAHP will add mental health as a focus area. We will provide resources and education to promote understanding of and treatment for mental health. We will also work to dispel the the stigma that surrounds mental health.
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Knowledge is power. According to the CDC, 1 in 8 people living with HIV do not know they have it. The stigma of HIV/AIDS, fear of a positive result, and negative perceptions about HIV testing may hinder some from getting tested. National HIV Testing Day was established to promote HIV testing so more people can be empowered by knowing their status. This year's theme is "Take the Test. Take Control."

HIV testing is a top priority in the African American community due to high HIV/AIDS rates. HIV testing protects the health of the person being tested, their partners and potential partners, and ultimately the wider community. Early detection of HIV also helps HIV+ people live longer, healthier lives.

AAPH is committed to the fight against HIV. Learn about AAHP's HIV testing and education programs here.
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According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, African Americans are 20% more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the general population. Common mental health disorders among African Americans include depression, ADHD, suicide and PTSD, which are often rooted in socioeconomic conditions like poverty, homelessness and violence. Because many African Americans perceive mental illness and depression as personal weaknesses, they are less likely to seek professional medical treatment. 

Observing Mental Health Month helps us understand mental health and dispel some of the common misconceptions about mental health conditions. Removing the stigma attached to mental illness can help many people feel less shame so they can seek the help they need.

If you or someone you love is suffering from depression and/or mental illness, please know that help is available. 

Montgomery County Health and Human Services Resources:
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Program
Adult Mental Health Program
Senior Mental Health Program
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Launched by the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health, National Minority Health Month highlights the initiatives and achievements of HHS and the Obama Administration towards reducing health disparities. This year's theme is Accelerating Health Equity for the Nation.

AAHP, in partnership with the HHS Office of Minority Health, aims to spearhead a movement for health equity. To accomplish our mission, not only do we provide resources and services that promote health and well-being among African Americans and people of African descent in Montgomery County, we also address the social and economic conditions that impact health. 

National Minority Health Month began 100 years ago as National Negro Health Week, as proposed by Booker T. Washington, who affirmed: "Without health and long life all else fails. We must reduce our high death rate, dethrone disease and enthrone health and long life."
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