What do a celebrity chef, jazz musician and hair stylists have in common around the Western States Affiliate? They are all dedicated to our Power To End Stroke (PTES) initiative and using their talents to help African Americans learn more about heart disease and stroke risk.
These exceptional volunteers make PTES the focus of high- profile events and everyday activities. Here are a few examples --
Celebrity Chef Rock Harper, at right, presided over our 4th annual Healthy Holiday Celebrity Cooking Class at Beebe Memorial Cathedral in Oakland on Nov. 14. Chef Rock is the winner of “Hell’s Kitchen Season 3” and shared his perspective on healthy cooking with the crowd of some 200 people who attended the event. An information-packed health expo was held prior to the cooking demonstration. A spirited American Heart Association version of the popular TV show “Family Feud” was a crowd-pleaser with teams testing their knowledge of heart health in the “Healthy Community Feud.”
Jazz musician Garrett Perkins, at left, set the stage for Power of Hope Jazz Night in Sacramento on Nov. 3 at the Marriott Rancho Cordova. The event was hosted by the local Power To End Stroke Executive Leadership Team. Along with the jazz performances, the evening included a heart health panel discussion featuring Barbara Smith-Nash, M.D., Janine Bera, M.D., and Karen Hart, M.D. Executive Leadership Team Chair Judy Baloney was the emcee. Representatives of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority shared information on their group’s dedication to making heart health a priority for their members and communities across the nation.
In Phoenix, a special group of volunteers are making PTES part of the everyday routine. Barbers and hairdressers are trained to check their clients’ blood pressure in a unique program called Check For Life. The Black Nurses Association provides the training, working with our staff to supply equipment, tracking cards, educational materials and posters to the shops. Barbers and hairdressers learn to provide an appropriate response based on an individual’s blood pressure reading. The nurses are on-call to give a professional consult if necessary.
All clients are provided educational materials about healthy lifestyle changes they can make to reduce high blood pressure risk. There are 25 shops participating this year and so far the stylists involved have screened the blood pressure of 412 adults and 46 children. The results point to the importance of these outreach efforts -- 101 of the adults had hypertension and 163 had pre-hypertension. There were eight children with pre-hypertension among the 46 screened – and the youngest was just eight-years-old.