Black Americans experience significant disparities and inequalities in health status and access to health coverage and care.
The Bridge Builders Foundation initiated the Community Health Partnership (CHP) Program as our strategy to address very critical health issues facing Black Americans. The CHP strategy is to provide education and health screenings for diseases that disproportionately affect Black Americans. Our objective is to increase and improve access of these services to a broader segment of the Black American population in the Los Angeles area through culturally sensitive initiatives.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic is ravaging the Black American community. Black Americans represent only 13% of the US population, yet they account for 49% of the AIDS cases diagnosed in 2005, and nearly half of all new diagnoses. AIDS is now the leading cause of death for African American women ages 25 to 34. It is the second leading cause of death for African American men ages 35 to 50.
Black American men are at least 60% more likely to develop prostate cancer than men of any other racial and ethnic group. Black American men are 2 ½ times more likely to die from prostate cancer than any other ethnic group. A major contributor to the death disparity is failure to be screened annually for early detection of any cancer, which maximizes survivability.
Community Health Partnerships
The current Bridge Builders Foundation Community Health Partnership (CHP) program is focused on partnerships in the following areas: HIV/AIDS, Prostate Education and Screening, and Diabetes. Our existing support and partnerships include:
- Long Beach AIDS Foundation Annual AIDS Walk
- Trinity Community Development Corporation. Annual Prostate Education and Screening
- American Diabetes Association Annual Diabetes Walk
- Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA).
- Long Beach Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Alcohol, Drug Abuse, AIDS Awareness, Community Education (ADACE) Workshop
- American Cancer Society. Annual Baldwin Hills Relay for Life
Future CHP initiatives will include efforts to address hypertension, obesity, and cholesterol.
Black Americans are more than twice as likely as Whites to have diabetes. From 1980 through 2005, the age-adjusted prevalence of diagnosed diabetes doubled among black males and increased 69% among black females. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the age-adjusted death rate from diabetes for Black Americans in 2001 was more than twice that for White Americans (49.2 per 100,000 vs 23.0).
In 2005, one-third (33%) of working-age Black-American adults were uninsured or experiencing a gap in coverage during the year compared to 20 percent for white working-age adults. Racial and ethnic disparities in health will continue to exist as long as minorities lack health insurance coverage and are unable to obtain affordable health care services.
In 2000, rates of death from heart disease were 29 percent higher among Black American adults than among white adults, and death rates from stroke were 40 percent higher. Hypertension and high cholesterol are leading causes of heart disease and strokes for Black Americans. Black Americans have the highest rate of high blood pressure of all groups and tend to develop it younger than others. According to the CDC, in 2001 the age-adjusted death rate for heart disease for Black Americans was 31.1 percent higher than White Americans.
The vulnerability of Black Americans to stroke is one of the most striking health disparities. According to the CDC, in 2001 the age-adjusted death rate for stroke for Black Americans was 41.2 percent higher than for White Americans.