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Report On Black Women's Health Will Guide New Initiative

Courtesy Center for Closing the Health Gap

The Center for Closing the Health Gap will launch the Black Women's Health Initiative early next year. It will be crafted from focus group results being released Tuesday evening.The Health Gap conducted nine focus groups with African-American women ranging from 18 to 85,asking about their primary health concerns.

Chief Operating Officer Renee Mahaffey Harris says 11 key concerns rose to the top, leading to five primary action areas: chronic illnesses and diseases, stress and mental health, fitness and nutrition, relationships, and institutional racism.

Stress appears to be a primary predictor for other problems, she says.

"We all have some form of stress, but often times for women, women are put last in the schedule of the day in caring for themselves," Mahaffey Harris says. "That is why we see higher rates of heart disease that end in mortality, higher rates of cancer, higher rates of obesity, because women are putting themselves last in that chain of what happens every day."

The Health Gap is using the data to craft the Black Women's Health Initiative, set to launch in February.

"The goal here is that it's multi-generational; that young women can benefit from the knowledge and wisdom of more seasoned women, mature women, and that's really how we build that support system for women as a whole," Mahaffey Harris says.

About The Event

The Black Women's Health Report Out begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11 at the Center for Closing the Health Gap's offices on Burnet Ave. A networking session will be held beforehand at 5:30 p.m.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.