Vic Parker already knew she had high blood pressure.
But the 49-year-old Newark woman did not know African-Americans can develop skin cancer or that they are at higher risk for diabetes—at least, not until she stopped at Christiana Care’s health-screening event “Health Info on the Go” at the Delaware Black Expo at the Doubletree Hotel.
Parker and other visitors learned light-colored spots on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet are a warning sign of skin cancer in blacks.
Parker also learned the warning signs of breast cancer at the event, and the proper way to do a breast self-exam.
“I had heard that doing a self-exam was important, but I didn’t know the proper way to do it,” she says.
More than 2,000 people attended the 2nd Annual Delaware Black Expo, which offered fun family events and educational opportunities.
“Bringing screenings and vital health information to individuals and underserved communities raises awareness and ultimately saves lives,” says Nora Katurakes, RN, MSN, OCN®, Christiana Care’s manager οf Community Health Outreach and Education.
“At the Black Expo, we can reach hundreds of people in a single day,” she says. “It could be a day that will change their lives for the better.”
Further, the event will have a ripple effect. Mordecai Scott of Wilmington, who picked up information on smoking cessation, said he will hand out brochures to high-school students and encourage them to kick the habit.
Adrienne Abner, director of Christiana Care’s Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Center, explained effective wound treatments and the importance of preventing ulcers in diabetics to several women who gathered information to take back to their church wellness ministry.
“Church is a major hub in the African-American community,” says Michele Gladney, RN, a Community Outreach coordinator at Christiana Care.
As many as 40 percent of African-American adults suffer from high blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association. Hypertension, which has no symptoms, is a leading cause of stroke, heart attack, kidney disease and blindness.
Two nurses from the Center for Heart and Vascular Health at Christiana Care provided blood-pressure readings and explained the results. Each visitor received a reminder card to take home for easy reference. Visitors who have high blood pressure were invited to come to Christiana Care and follow up with a free, full risk assessment.
“Our goal is to make certain they are connected with a primary-care provider so they can get the treatment they need,” said Elizabeth Bradley, APN, Center for Heart & Vascular Health at Christiana Care.
The organization’s Facebook page saw a flurry of activity following the event, with 1,255 “liking” the event.
Photo gallery: Health Info on the Go at Delaware Black Expo
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