Atlanta’s Westside has a long history of civil rights activism. The neighborhood was home to leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Julian Bond. Systemic racism has marginalized communities throughout the United States. The consequences can be measured in the health outcomes of people who live in moderate to high need areas like Vine City, where the life expectancy is 13 years shorter than communities only 20 miles away. CVS Health is working to close that gap, alongside the staff at Good Samaritan, a local health center that is now providing free COVID-19 testing to those in the community who need it most.
New Orleans was hit hard by COVID-19: music, tourism, and residents alike. We spoke with Dr. Meghan Maslanka (Physician, LSU Medical Center) who worked alongside local officials, like Congressman Cedric Richmond, to retrofit the New Orleans Convention Center as a backup medical monitoring facility to relieve a potential overflow of patients at the city’s hospitals. We also spoke to Leslie Sparks, Shardae Pierre, Kevin Storm, Michael Ogbonna, and Katelyn Schehr from the pharmacy side, who provided support at the Convention Center.
The number one killer of women is cardiovascular disease. This stark statistic is why the American Heart Association’s national “Go Red for Women” movement is so important. Healthy Communities News was on hand at their annual star-studded Red Dress Collection fashion show in New York City, where we got the opportunity to sit down with four heart disease and stroke survivors for a roundtable discussion. Hear their stories of recovery and hope — and why we need to talk about women’s heart health.
Much like the neighborhood for which it is named, the Live Healthy Little Havana program is a mix of many different elements. It’s a community-led initiative, a partnership with the government, a collaboration with health organizations and an effort to improve resident/police relations — all rolled into one. Live Healthy Little Havana participants are working on multiple fronts toward a single goal — to improve life for the residents of this storied community. We showed up at one of their events to hear about how it’s working — and watched as kids from the neighborhood vied to be the first to get the local police commander into the dunk tank.
Not all heroes wear capes. Some monitor blood pressure in barbershops. Some fight opioid misuse and addiction in the streets. And some provide training to help their neighbors find meaningful work. At Healthy Communities News, we talk to folks who are improving health in towns and cities across the country. Here’s a sampling of the inspiring stories we were privileged to tell this year. We look forward to introducing you to even more local heroes in 2020!
Barbershops are not just places to get a shave and a haircut. For African-American communities, these cultural hubs can also become havens for much-needed health care services. High rates of high blood pressure among African-Americans are compounded by the fact that African-American men often aren’t receiving regular medical care. To address this, CVS Health, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, NashvilleHealth and Cedars Sinai Medical Center are placing pharmacists inside Nashville barbershops to test patrons for high blood pressure and recommend treatments.
Healthy Communities News spotlights local people with local solutions to health challenges in their communities. In Louisville, Kentucky, the shadow of segregation and the city’s past reluctance to invest in a historically black community have left many residents distrustful of government. But now, a group of longtime residents are driving efforts to help revitalize their neighborhood — and they’re doing it in partnership with the government. Together, they are creating programs like the West Louisville Outdoor Recreation Initiative — which, among other things, helps local kids learn about and experience nature. Because many local families don’t have easy access to parks or forests, the initiative brings nature to the children with a project called ECHO — Engaging Children in the Outdoors. We visited Louisville to learn more.
At Healthy Communities News, we spotlight the people and places that are tackling local health challenges in impactful ways. The University of San Francisco (USF) is one of over 200 colleges and universities adopting policies to eliminate tobacco from their campuses as part of the CVS Health Foundation Tobacco-Free Campus Initiative. It’s a part of the $50 million commitment to help deliver the first tobacco-free generation launched by CVS Health soon after it quit selling tobacco products five years ago. We visited USF to see what a tobacco-free campus looks like and sat down with students, staff and our partner at the American Cancer Society for their thoughts on going 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free.
People in underserved communities often have trouble getting the job skills they need to find stable employment. That’s why CVS Health launched the Workforce Innovation and Talent Center in Cleveland. The Center provides hands-on training and other resources – like transportation, childcare and housing – to help people find meaningful employment in the health care industry. By helping keep people financially healthy, CVS Health is also helping to build healthier communities across the country.
Local people with local solutions — that’s what we’re all about at Healthy Communities News. In this episode, our host, Hilary Russo, travels to Virginia and North Carolina to check out two communities taking creative approaches to address opioid use disorder. We’ll hear about these innovative solutions from the folks on the ground putting them into action and get a glimpse into recovery from Wanda Jenkins, who is using her experience with opioid use disorder to help others.
Welcome to Healthy Communities News — where we highlight communities that are finding innovative solutions to solve local health challenges. Our first episode features communities battling two common and persistent problems: food deserts and heart disease. In Bridgeport, Connecticut, the East End Pop Up Market gives residents easy access to fresh food for the first time in four decades. In Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, church leaders are mixing faith with fitness to stem the tide of heart disease and diabetes in their congregations.