Donations, Awareness Raised at 2020 African American Wellness Walk

Premier Pulse     September 2020

This year marked the 20th anniversary of the African American Wellness Walk (AAWW), promoting physical, mental, emotional, and social health and justice in our community. The AAWW was established in 2000 to raise awareness and combat the heart health disparities for African Americans. It has since evolved to address the alarming underlying health conditions that plague our families and friends in minority communities.

According to the 2019 Community Health Assessment by Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County, Black babies die at a rate four times higher than white babies. Black women are less likely to receive adequate prenatal care and are twice as likely to have a low-birth weight baby compared to white women. Across Montgomery County, Black men have higher rates of heart disease, stroke, prostate cancer, and diabetes when compared to the countywide average. The total average lifespan for a Black man in Montgomery County is only 65.5 years – six years shorter than white men and 13 years shorter than white women.

The AAWW has typically been held during celebration of Juneteenth, a commemorative day representing the freedom of African Americans from slavery. However, due to the pandemic and social distancing guidelines, this year’s walk was reimagined as a “virtual” 5K. New for this year was an additional Super Social Justice Challenge, where participants pushed themselves a little further to walk or run 8.46 miles, in memory of George Floyd.

This year, more than 2,300 individuals from 41 states and five countries participated in the walk. Additionally, each Premier Health site had at least 10 percent employee participation. Premier System Support and Samaritan Behavioral Health led the way with more than 27 percent participation, while Upper Valley Medical Center and Atrium Medical Center each saw a participation increase of more than 3,000 percent from last year. To top it off, Premier Health raised nearly $15,000 in participant donations.

Thank you for your enthusiasm and participation in the 2020 African American Wellness Walk: One Walk, All Races. Your steps have raised awareness of and fought back against health and justice inequities in our community.

Back to the September 2020 issue of Premier Pulse

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