Knowledge is power. And learning more about health and how to access care empowers African-American women and their families to lead healthier lives. That was the message of Empowering Our Sisters, Our Journey to Wellness, a health and wellness summit held May 2 at the John H. Ammon Medical Education Center. Velma Scantlebury-White, M.D., FACS, associate chief of Transplant Surgery at Christiana Care, moderated a panel discussion on the State Innovation Models (SIM) initiative, an ambitious plan to transform health care in Delaware that could become a model for the nation.
The goal is the Triple Aim: improving the health of Delawareans, improving the patient experience, and reducing costs. A key component of the plan is connecting patients to primary-care providers, who will improve patients’ health and reduce costs by treating conditions in their earliest stages, said Margot Savoy, M.D., MPH, FAAFP, CPE, FABC, medical director, Department of Family Medicine.
“You get back in the driver’s seat, and primary-care will help you to navigate and get you where you need to go,” Dr. Savoy said. She encouraged women to be mindful that all Delawareans are partners in the health system. That includes taking responsibility for reducing costs.
“If you go to the Emergency Department with a sore throat, it could wind up costing $5,000 instead of $50 if you go to your primary care provider,” she said. “Everything that you do impacts somebody else. That money has to come from somewhere.”
Dr. Savoy also spoke at a workshop on cardiovascular health and related diseases of the metabolic system, noting that African-Americans are at higher risk for hypertension, which contributes to strokes and heart attacks. She encouraged participants to take charge of risk factors they can control, such as quitting smoking and losing weight.
“These are all 100 percent in your control,” she said. “You are the ones who drive the health of your entire family.”
Topics also included women’s health throughout life, emotional and spiritual wellness, nutrition. There also were sessions for girls age 11-17. Participants received free health screenings and information on community resources from more than 20 exhibitors.
The second annual event was presented by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Wilmington Alumnae Chapter, and Delta Outreach & Education Center and sponsored, in part, by Christiana Care Health System. Dr. Savoy and Dr. Scantlebury-White were event advisers.
Sponsors also included: AstraZeneca; Delaware Commission for Women; Delaware Health and Social Services; H&S Enterprises Inc.; Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League; Nemours Children’s Health System; United Healthcare; United Way; the City of Wilmington; and Wilmington City Council.