Heart Walk raises awareness of health inequalities in the African American community


Leaders of the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity and the Triad Pastors Network are working to get more African-American participation in this year’s Heart and Stroke Walk.

“Health equity is when everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or community, has the fair and equitable opportunity to be as healthy as possible. This requires a holistic approach to removing barriers to optimal health such as poverty, discrimination and their consequences. This means everyone has fair housing, quality education, safe environments and access to healthcare,” said Dr. Goldie Byrd, executive director of the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

Health equity is one of the reasons she is pushing for more African Americans to attend the 2022 Winston-Salem Heart and Stroke Walk. This year’s walk is in person and takes place this Sunday, October 23. It is under the direction of Dr. Bryd and Brad Roehrenbeck, General Counsel and Vice President of Legal and Compliance Services for MedCost. Dr. Byrd and Roehrenbeck lead a leadership team responsible for raising vital funds to support research and education in the prevention of heart disease and stroke.

“We want the African American community to join us in raising awareness of how heart disease and stroke affect our community. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, and these two diseases are the most prevalent and debilitating in the African community,” Dr. Bryd said of the push for African Americans to participate in the march. This year.

“We want American Heart Association (AHA) funds to flow into our communities to conduct research, raise awareness, and help with environmental and behavioral changes that reduce the prevalence of heart disease and stroke. Ultimately, we want a better quality of life and increased life expectancy that has been reduced among African Americans because of these diseases,” she added.

The Triad Pastors Network (TPN) is a big supporter of the Winston-Salem Heart and Stroke Walk and is an integral part of the health equity initiatives implemented by the Maya Angelou Center. Their goal is to bring a holistic approach to the pursuit of health.

“The Triad Pastors Network is an ecumenical, interfaith, multigenerational group of faith leaders. TPN’s mission is to build trusted asset-based partnerships between regional pastors, and between pastors and the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity (MACHE). The partnership identifies health priorities and establishes programs relating to the spiritual, physical, mental and emotional health of their congregations and communities,” said Rev. Dr. Lamonte Williams, who is a member of the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity and serves as a facilitator between the faith community and the Wake Forest School of Medicine.

“The Walk is an event that has been approved by TPN as its 2022 TPN Faith Community Collaborative Activity. It is only a health event organized by TPN and fits well with our mission and our goal,” he said.

According to a press release from the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease kills more people each year in the United States than all forms of cancer and chronic lower respiratory disease combined. Heart disease remains the number one cause of death in the United States. According to the 2019 Forsyth County Health Report, heart disease is the second leading cause of death in North Carolina and stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in Forsyth County. However, heart disease and stroke are largely preventable by knowing your vital numbers, managing your personal risk factors, and making heart-healthy lifestyle changes like eating healthier and becoming more active. .

“A healed African-American community will be healthier, in general. It will not simply be the absence of disease, but he will have equal access to excellent health, wealth and well-being,” said Dr Byrd.

Everyone is invited to register to walk during the 2022 Winston-Salem Heart and Stroke Walk in person at Bailey Park in downtown Winston-Salem. With Healthy for Good Sponsors Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist and MedCost, and Forsyth Life is Why Sponsor Novant Health, registration begins at 1 p.m. and the walk begins at 2 p.m. on Sunday, October 23. Register today at www.winstonsalemheartwalk.org sign up to walk or form a team. For any questions about the event, contact [email protected]badheart.org.

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