Bay Area Black United Fund Convenes African American Health Summit 2009 - Featuring Keynotes by Danny Glover and Dr. Ian Smith

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The Center for Disease Control (CDC) Office of Minority Health & Health Disparities reports the following dreadful statistics: the infant death rate among African Americans is more than double that of whites. Heart disease death rates are more than 40 percent higher for African Americans than for whites. The death rate for all cancers is 30 percent higher for African Americans than for whites; for prostate cancer, it is more than double that for whites. African American women have a higher death rate from breast cancer despite having a mammography screening rate that is nearly the same as the rate for white women. The death rate from HIV/AIDS for African Americans is more than seven times that for whites; the rate of homicide is six times that for whites.

Our goal is to raise awareness about the disparities, as well as focus our collective efforts on 'moving the dial' to close the gaps, and more effectively address the social and economic factors that cause the disparities.

On Friday and Saturday, February 6 and 7, 2009, Bay Area Black United Fund, Inc. (BABUF) will convene the comprehensive African American Health Summit 2009 at Oakland Marriott City Center and Convention Center, 1001 Broadway, downtown Oakland. Themed "Claiming Our Story of Health & Wellness: Our Past, Our Present, Our Future," the two-day Summit will address countless health issues plaguing the African American community. Friday - Health Summit Conference and Luncheon; Saturday - free Health Expo.

On Friday, Bay Area civic, professional, ministerial, and community leaders and some of our nation's most influential representatives and health experts will come together for the Health Summit Conference and Luncheon. Day one will consist of morning and luncheon plenaries, discussion tracks and independent workshops, a Conference on African American Inequities, and a Faith-based & Youth Initiative Institute.

Actor, film producer, and humanitarian Danny Glover will deliver the key address during the breakfast plenary. Dr. Ian Smith - co-host of "Celebrity Fit Club" and creator of "The 50 Million Pound Challenge" - will keynote the luncheon that follows the morning sessions. Also among dignitaries playing prominent roles in the day's activities will be BABUF Executive Director Woody Carter, Ph.D.; physicians from Kaiser Permanente, Alta Bates Summit Hospital, Ethnic Health Institute, Bay Area Black Consortium for Quality Healthcare and James A Watson Wellness Center; and Alameda County Public Health Department Director and Health Officer Anthony Iton, M.D., J.D., M.P.H.

Saturday, several thousand Bay Area residents will take part in the Summit's free day-long health exposition at the Oakland Convention Center. The expo will include a full day of free health exams and screenings, including blood pressure, diabetes, prostate, cholesterol, dental and vision. Numerous workshops will address physical and mental health, fitness, medical and holistic topics, as well as pavilions designated specifically for teens, men, women, and one to address holistic healing and restoration. Billy Blanks will lead Tae Bo exercises; Chef Mimi will conduct healthy food cooking demonstrations; and Maalak Atkins' will hold Soul Chi classes - his blend of Tai Chi and R&B. Saturday's Health Expo will also include live entertainment and many more activities for the entire family.

"Kaiser Permanente is proud to be the title sponsor of the 2009 African American Health Summit," said Greg Adams, President, Northern California Region, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals. We recognize the health disparities that exist in the African American community. African Americans have a unique and different set of risks for specific diseases. Adams further commented, "We want to address these needs in a meaningful way that resonates with cultural values of this community, and we want to offer tools for managing health and preventing disease."

Referring to the Summit's theme (Claiming Our Story of Health & Wellness), Melody Powers, BABUF Director of Marketing and Workplace Campaigns said, "The art of story telling is firmly rooted in the history of African Americans. This art has been used to pass on our history, culture and traditions." She continued, "African American Health Summit 2009 intends to revive storytelling as a tool for healing. We want to remind our community to use storytelling to help us take responsibility for our health." During some conference workshops, oral historians (griots) will use storytelling to explain our ethnic history and to inspire families to share their healing successes.

"We at United Way are proud to support the African American Health Summit, which is bringing together the best and the brightest to address health disparities in our community," said United Way of the Bay Area, Inc. Chief Community Investment Officer Carole Watson. "Our goal is to raise awareness about the disparities, as well as focus our collective efforts on 'moving the dial' to close the gaps, and more effectively address the social and economic factors that cause the disparities."

The Bay Area African American Health Initiative is coordinator of African American Health Summit 2009; Bay Area Black United Fund, Inc. is the event convener; and Kaiser Permanente is the event's title sponsor. United Way of the Bay Area, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Alameda County Public Health Department, and YMCA of the East Bay are among the Summit's key supporters, along with numerous other generous community partners.

View Danny Glover promotional video: http://stellarvision.tv/player.html?bcpid=1119364354&bclid=2888243001&bctid=3272601001

About Bay Area Black United Fund, Inc:
The Bay Area Black United Fund (BABUF) is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization located in Oakland, CA. Its mission is to promote and build partnerships with organizations to maximize its capacity to serve African American people and other communities of color. BABUF brings together resources that support human growth and development, and advance community economic development and renewal. 510.763.7270 / http://www.babuf.org

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Toni Beckham

Melody Powers
Bay Area Black United Fund, Inc.
(510) 763-7270
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