On Saturday, Sept. 7, the First Ladies Health Initiative hosted its 11th Annual First Ladies Health Day and 2nd Health Walk in Chicago. This event was hosted by almost 60 First Ladies (pastor’s wives), who collectively represent congregations of more than 40,000 people. Together, they have utilized their collective influence to stage a citywide health takeover, directing their communities to get tested, know their health status and actively participate in wellness programs. The First Ladies partnered with the City of Chicago, the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Area Runners Association (CARA), and nearly Forty Healthcare Providers to host a Run/Walk as well as a full-scale Health Fair. The day kicked off the day with a 5K Run / 2.5K Walk, followed by free screenings such as HIV, Hep C, Glucose, and free education on topics such as Breast, Prostate, Colon, and Spinal Health, as well as CPR Training amongst others. Additionally, on-site acupuncture, smoking cessation, dental screenings, x-rays and much more was conducted. In addition to the free health screenings and education – food vendors, workout instructors powered by the Chicago ParkDistrict and a Children’s Pavilion was available. Free Entertainment included a church choir, Music DJs and National Recording Artists DJ Casper and TL Williams.
This event was held in Burnham Park on the lake front in downtown Chicago. 2019 participating health partners included Walgreens, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, Bright Pink, Rush University Medical Center, Cigna, Sinai Health Systems, Cook County Health and Hospitals System, Governors State University, Loyola University Medical Center, ChiroOne, Humana, Advocate Aurora Health Systems, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Chicago Department of Public Health, University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System, Illinois Department of Public Health and The American Red Cross.
The First Ladies Health Initiative is working to address troubling minority health disparities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in 32 African-American women and one in 16 African- American men will be diagnosed with HIV. Meanwhile, incidents of hepatitis, diabetes, hypertension, obesity and other systemic illnesses are epidemic in both the African-American and Hispanic communities. Our goal is to empower African-Americans, Latinos and other communities of color to proactively take control of their health and wellness. Since 2008 the First Ladies Health Initiative, and its consortium of 200-plus churches have screened and educated a combined 300,000-plus people in the Chicago, Los Angeles, Gary, Ind. and Orange County, Calif. markets.