First Ladies Health Day Los Angeles

First Ladies Health Day - Los Angeles, CA
Sunday, April 10, 2016

PASTORS’ WIVES ENCOURAGE HEALTH, WELLNESS IN COMMUNITIES OF COLOR ACROSS THE NATION

Walgreens First Ladies Health Initiative kicks off on Sunday, April 10 in Los Angeless

(Los Angeles) – The statistics are beyond alarming. Cases of sexually-transmitted diseases have reached all-time highs in the United States. African Americans account for an estimated 44% of all new HIV infections among adults and adolescents. African-American and Latino communities also suffer from a higher prevalence of preventable, systemic illnesses – such as hepatitis, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and certain forms of cancer.

Realizing that action must be taken, Walgreens assembled the First Ladies Health Initiative, a consortium of more than 100 pastors’ wives (First Ladies) from across the United States to confront these troubling health disparities. During its First Ladies Health Days, houses of worship representing all denominations in four major metropolitan areas will open their doors to the community to provide free medical testing for a variety of illnesses and conditions. Since the program began in 2008, nearly 200,000 medical and health tests have been performed and many lives have been saved.

On April 10, the First Ladies Health Initiative will kick off the 2016 season with its First Ladies Health Day in Los Angeles. The event is hosted by 35 First Ladies, ranging in age from 30 to 82, who represent congregations of more than 10,000 people. Together, they are utilizing their collective influence to stage a citywide health takeover, directing their communities to get tested, know their health status and actively participate in wellness programs.

“In our communities, the church serves a multitude of purposes, including ‘hospital’ for the spiritually downtrodden; so, it is a natural fit to open the doors of the church to offer these health services, empowering attendees of all ages to declare war on these systemic, chronic and often deadly medical issues,” said First Lady Rinnita Thompson of Southern Missionary Baptist Church; and First Ladies Health Day co-chair in Los Angeles.

After the kickoff in Los Angeles, First Ladies Health Days are scheduled in Orange County, Calif., Chicago, and Gary, Ind. The First Ladies Health Initiative even extends across the globe via a partnership with the Bishop Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation’s “Take One, Give One” campaign. For every HIV test taken at a First Ladies Health Day location, an HIV testing kit will be donated to testing facilities in South Africa.

“Our stores are proudly located at the corner of happy and healthy, and what better place to connect with our customers than through the First Ladies Health Day which promotes happy families and healthy options,” said John Gremer, director of Community Relations, Walgreens.

Tracey Alston, executive director of the First Ladies Health Initiative, expressed the main goal of the program: “The First Ladies Health Initiative is a one-of-its-kind effort that positions the church as the nucleus for large- scale health and wellness outreach. Ultimately, we want to empower minority and low-income communities with the essential healthcare resources so they can take control of their health. It is crucial that these communities have access to health information and medical experts, as well as free health tests which can sometimes cost hundreds of dollars.”

Participating health partners and volunteers for First Ladies Health Day include: Walgreens pharmacists, AltaMed, the Alzheimer’s Association, the American Diabetes Association, CareMore, Cedars-Sinai, City of Hope, and Susan G. Komen®. For more information on the First Ladies Health Days or a full list of participating churches and their First Ladies, please visit: FirstLadiesHealth.com; or call 213-394-0844.

About the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation The Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation is a center of excellence for HIV and TB research. The foundation is a not-for-profit organization that has operated in association with the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town since 2004. It works in partnership with government health agencies and local and international partners to upscale and improve the management and treatment of tuberculosis and related infections.