A new public awareness campaign will provide free health screenings to African Americans living in the Philadelphia region, offering an opportunity to identify potential chronic health conditions.
The Our Community, Our Health program – launched by Independence Blue Cross and The Philadelphia Tribune – aims to combat the disproportionate rates of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease impacting the African American community.
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These chronic health problems diminish quality of life and have contributed to a nearly four-year gap in life expectancy between African Americans and whites, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
African Americans also have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, accounting for about 60% of hospitalizations in Philadelphia.
"We are deeply concerned about the chronic health conditions that are seriously hurting the African American community," Independence CEO Daniel J. Hilferty said. "Everyone deserves to enjoy good health."
The new program is open to all African American community members in Philadelphia and its suburbs.
Free screenings will be provided in partnership with Family Food, which offers personalized health and nutrition services. Those interested can visit their website or call 1-800-203-8657. Participants can set up their counseling sessions via a phone call or Zoom session.
"Especially during this pandemic, it is crucial that we come together and take extensive measures to save lives and create a healthy future for generations to come," said Gregory E. Deavens, executive vice president of Independence. "We hope this campaign will show people that change is within their grasp, and that better health is possible."