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Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a pharmaceutical company owned by Johnson & Johnson, recently announced the start of a new program aimed at helping save Black Americans from the effects of peripheral artery disease (PAD) such as leg amputation.
Known as “Save Legs. Change Lives,” the initiative will work to lower the rates of PAD, a health issue that limits blood circulation to limbs such as the legs, through a variety of methods. Along with testing service U.S. Mobile Health Exams, Janssen will provide screenings in a mobile health unit called “empower PAD.”
The mobile unit will make stops at the communities that are most at-risk and give a free test known as the ankle-brachial index test to anyone that’s interested. To screen for PAD, the process has certified professionals compare the blood pressure at the ankle to the blood pressure to the arm.
The program will also work on spreading information about PAD with help from the Change Network, a committee that works on starting discussions about PAD and getting helpful resources out to the public, along with Healthy Directions, an education program that works to specifically draw attention to PAD amongst Black Americans.
To reach the more faith-oriented communities in Chicago, “Save Legs. Change Lives” has partnered with the Balm in Gilead, Inc., a nonprofit organization focused on helping people of African descent live healthier lives. Together, they’ll provide members of the organization with events focused on PAD that are centered around culture.
“‘Save Legs. Change Lives.’ sets in motion a vision for more relevant, trusted and inclusive care for everyone affected by PAD,” said Vice President at Janssen Cardiovascular & Metabolism, Janssen Scientific Affairs, LLC, Avery Ince, M.D., Ph.D. “As part of Johnson & Johnson, Janssen believes that major corporations have the power – and therefore the responsibility – to tackle pressing health challenges and make good health a reality for all people.”
Black Americans are identified as the people that are impacted the most by PAD. In a 2021 report by authors from University Hospitals that was released by the American Heart Association Journals, the rates of Black Americans suffering from PAD were found to be two times more than the rates of any other group in the U.S.
The rates of leg amputations as a result of PAD more clearly depict the wide racial disparity. According to another American Heart Association Journals report, in a study focused on patients with PAD and Medicare insurance, Black Americans were identified as being four times more at risk to receive leg amputations than anyone else.
While Black Americans are clearly most affected, they’re not diagnosed as early as other racial and ethnic groups, according to the report by the authors from University Hospitals. Black Americans also have more of a chance of having to undergo leg amputation instead of receiving medical therapy.
The new initiative is part of Johnson & Johnson’s bigger program aimed at getting rid of medical racism. Known as “Our Race to Health Equality,” the program will work on eliminating discrimination in the medical world by giving $100 million in funding to build a more equal diagnosis and treatment process.