The California Black Health Network (CBHN) launched its Faith-based Heath Initiative: A Partnership for Change with a banquet dinner celebration on July 16 at the Hilton Sacramento Arden West. The new initiative will involve 8 churches in bringing healthy activities to their congregations. In partnership with Alere, Inc., CBHN and churches located in the greater Sacramento area will work with African American adults to monitor their health measurements and activities.
The partnership allows Alere, Inc. to provide church congregants with monitors to collect data on health improvements over the next 6 months. The goal of the program is to allow church members to identify and create sustainable health behaviors to improve and maintain healthier lives. Pastors and faith members in attendance were moved by the words of Pastor James Trapp, who challenged them to advance health in their communities. He passionately stated he felt that now is the time for health to become a priority and that “we are not here to miss our mission” by dying early and experiencing poor quality of life.
The impact of early death and poor health habits was clearly felt by the personal story shared by Pastor Porter, Genesis Baptist Church who has lost 60 pounds. He gave an account that his own young son brought the importance of living a longer and healthier life into perspective for him. Pastor Porter did not know his grandfather who died early. Pastor Porter’s father has also died early and did not get to know his grandson. When Pastor Porter was asked by his adolescent son, “will you know my kids?” he knew he needed to break this cycle.
CBHN Executive Director, Darcel Lee, shared with the group her excitement about the initiative. She said, “I am particularly excited about this project. It gives us an opportunity that is not often utilized. This program will be designed by African American and for African Americans.” The resulting data will be used to set a baseline for future study and inform policy makers.