In honor of National Heart Health Month, Ascension Wisconsin unveiled its new community wellness program – “Be of Good Heart” – on Tuesday, February 13. The program will partner with 90 Milwaukee-area Urban Church Wellness congregations to provide 2,000 people living in poverty with free screenings for hypertension and diabetes – primary causes of heart disease and death.
Ascension Wisconsin chose to focus on diabetes and hypertension because a large percentage of people are unaware that they have these diseases. Among African-Americans, more than 40% of diabetes cases and 25% of hypertension cases are undiagnosed.
Dr. Joshua Liberman, preventive cardiologist at Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s and one of the founding supporters of Be of Good Heart, spoke about the health disparity of heart disease in African-American communities:
“Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in this country,” he said, “Out of the 72 counties in Wisconsin, Milwaukee consistently ranks the worst in heart health – with people living in Milwaukee County having four years less life expectancy than those living in Ozaukee County. Our zip codes matter more than our genetic codes.”
The “Be of Good Heart” Community Wellness Program will reduce this health disparity for underserved African-Americans living in central Milwaukee by:
- Identifying those who have, or are most at risk for, diabetes and hypertension
- Educating people about the diseases
- Providing health coaching to manage their conditions
- Connecting them to primary medical care
“We need people that care about us to take care of us,” said Julia Means, BSN, parish nurse at Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s, “We cannot just tell people where to get care, we have to show them and remind them that the power of their health is in their hands.”
Be of Good Heart community screening sites will be listed on www.urbanchurchwellness.org.
If you are interested in becoming a screening site, please contact Penelope Stewart, community outreach coordinator, at Penelope.firstname.lastname@example.org or (414) 585-4805.
Ascension Wisconsin Be of Good Heart Screening Sites:
Ascension Ebenezer Health Resource Center
3132 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Dr. Milwaukee, WI 53212
Wednesdays & Thursdays – 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
(Located on the lower level of Ebenezer Church of God in Christ)
Ascension St. Joseph’s Hospital – Conference Room ST1824 5000 W. Chambers Street Milwaukee, WI 53210
Mondays – 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
(Located in the front entrance of the main lobby of the hospital)