Monday, March 28, 2011

The Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health Partners with Empire BlueCross Blue Shield To Fight Heart Disease Among Black Women in Brooklyn

By Akira Barclay, New York Contributor

The Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health has launched a major initiative to improve the cardiovascular health of African American and Afro-Caribbean women in Brooklyn, NY. The initiative, Heart of a Woman, is a central component of the Institute's community-based health programming in 2011 and is supported by a leadership grant of $190,000 from the Empire BlueCross BlueShield Foundation.

Carried out in partnership with customers and stylists in eight hair salons, Heart of a Woman will increase awareness of Black women's risk of cardiovascular disease and how even simple changes in diet and exercise can reduce their risk. Heart of a Woman will train salon stylists to serve as lay health advocates for their customers, offering fact-based information about heart health and encouragement. The program will target the communities of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights, East Flatbush and Flatbush.

“Cardiovascular disease is the leading killer of American women – and African American women are at greater risk than any other ethnic group,” said Mark Wagar, President and CEO, Empire BlueCross BlueShield. “The Arthur Ashe Institute is taking a highly innovative, people-to-people approach to help spread the word to women, so they can better protect themselves against the ravages of heart disease.”

Heart Health Advocate Star Jones knows firsthand the devastation heart disease can cause. After being diagnosed with cardiovascular disease in March 2010, Star underwent successful open heart surgery to correct a genetic abnormality and repair her aortic valve. “I learned late in life that my health is my greatest asset. For as the proverb says, “she who has health has hope, and she who has hope has everything. Heart health has become my mission in life and my hope for tomorrow.”

Jones will be honored at Sports Ball 2011, the 17th annual gala of the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, on Thursday, April 14, 2011.

About the Arthur Ashe Institute:
The Arthur Ashe Institute was founded in 1992 by tennis champion and humanitarian Arthur Ashe in response to the need for better access to health care in minority urban communities. The Institute has built a substantial reputation for its ability to bring current health information into Brooklyn communities using culturally tailored curricula that address health concerns that disproportionately affect minority populations, including cardiovascular disease, asthma, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS. To learn more about the Institute, visit the website at

About Empire BlueCross and Blue Shield Foundation: Through charitable grant making, the Empire BlueCross BlueShield Foundation and the Empire BlueCross Foundation, trade names of the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation L.L.C., independent licensees of the BlueCross BlueShield Association, serving residents and businesses in the 28 eastern and southeastern counties of New York State, promotes Empire's inherent commitment to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that Empire serves. To learn more about the Foundation please visit Source: Press Release

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