Black Health Matters to Host Health Summit This Week

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Health organization Black Health Matters will be holding their third annual Spring Health Summit and Health Fair this week.

With a special focus on Black college students and individuals over 40, the summit will bring together people of all ages on April 30 to draw attention to the health issues in the Black community.

Offered as a hybrid event, attendees will be given the opportunity to join in-person at the Riverside Church in Harlem or online as part of Black Health Matters’ partnership with tech company vFairs. 

“Black Health Matters is delighted to host the largest health fair in the nation,” said the Media Relations Director of Black Health Matters, Linette Roach, in the press release. “More than $8K worth of medical advice will be shared through a faculty of 12 respected clinicians.”

Through conversations with a panel of professionals and survivors, the Spring Health Summit and Health Fair will talk about the most common health problems in the Black community such as maternal health, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Myeloma. Health equity and how to stay healthy to avoid becoming part of the statistics will also be covered.

The specialists include Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the 19th director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Dr. Michelle Morse, New York City’s first Chief Medical Officer and Deputy; Dr. Jszianne Tolbert, Senior Director of Oncology Clinical Development at Janssen Pharmaceuticals; Ramona Burress, PharmD, Associate Director of Diversity and Inclusion in Clinical Trials at Janssen; and Lisa Lewis, MPH, Oncology Director of Diversity and Inclusion in Clinical Trials at Janssen. 

Other people to speak include celebrities and health activists such as actor Tatyana Ali, rapper and President of the United Coalition for Humanity Kurtis Blow, actor S. Epatha Merkerson, actor Malik Yoba and record executive Matthew Knowles. 

By hearing the professionals speak, Black Health Matters hopes to provide the Black university students in attendance with live mentors. 

With the increase of events similar to the Black Health Matters’ summit that aim to inspire prospective Black medical students, more Black students are entering the medical world. 

According to a report released in Dec. 2021 by the Association of American Medical Colleges, the number of Black first-students in medical schools across the nation increased by 21% from 2020 to 2021 alone, reaching its highest rate in years.

The increase in Black medical school students could potentially prove to be part of the solution to the lack of diversity in the medical field. 

Throughout the decades, the rate of Black doctors has been slow to grow. In a 2021 report by UCLA, researchers found that the percentage of Black doctors has only grown by 4% in the last 120 years. In 1900, only 1.3% of U.S. doctors were Black. Now, while the number has grown, there’s still a lack of representation as only 5% of the physician workforce are Black. 

The lack of diversity will be one of the topics that will be discussed at the summit as Dr. Morse is joined in conversation with Alicia Butler, the Health and Wellness Policy Associate at the National Action Network. 

To attend the event, register here.

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