The Links, Incorporated established the Health and Human Services facet in response to the chronic health disparities that persist in our communities and result in the decreased life expectancy of African-Americans. This new facet brings greater focus, resources, and coordination to The Links, Incorporated’s health initiatives already in existence. With the expansion of partnerships with national health agencies, and more definitive structure and support for our health related signature programs, our mission can flourish.
The mission of the Health and Human Services facet is to promote and facilitate programs that support the maintenance of good health and the elimination of chronic health disparities in communities of color through education, health advocacy, and optimal utilization of health resources. Community education about health risks is crucial and The Links, Incorporated can play a significant role in providing it.
There has been an increase in the prevalence of cardiovascular disease and stroke in ethnic communities. Obesity, diabetes and physical inactivity are all risk factors that can be modified. African-American women are more likely to die from breast cancer and early detection would allow for effective treatment and cure. We will educate members about healthy lifestyles and disease prevention to ensure that we become models of the health behavior we ourselves hope to promote in our communities.
The areas of emphasis are cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, and organ, tissue and blood donation. All health-related programs will find a home within the new facet. This includes our signature programs: HeartLinks, Linkages to Life, and Walk for Healthy Living , as well as the National Childhood Obesity Initiative, oral health, brain health initiatives, and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure national partnership.
We’ll be guided by chapter assessments of community need, Healthy People 2020 (a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services initiative), and the goals of the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities.
to Heart Health
This signature program aims to encourage Link members and communities to take an aggressive stance against heart disease, the number one killer of African-American women. HeartLinks accomplishes its goal by presenting Chapters with numerous ways to implement healthy heart activities in their communities including: Walk for Healthy Living (signature program), Million Pound Challenge, Red Dress events and Cardiovascular Risk Reduction programs.
Linkages to Life: Organ, Tissue and Bone Marrow
Donation Awareness Program
This program is designed to educate membership and the African-American community about the importance of and need for organ, tissue, and bone marrow donation. Linkages to Life awareness initiatives are conducted in partnership with local and national transplant organizations, the faith-based community and civic organizations.
- Walk for Healthy Living
The Walk for Healthy Living signature program aims to teach others that healthy, sustained lifestyle changes can induce and reduce the incidence of many diseases. The program achieves this goal by encouraging Links members to improve their health and that of their families through daily, healthy nutrition choices; by sponsoring Links Walk-a-Thons annually in September in order to raise funds for organizations that promote healthy lifestyles; and by participating in established walk-a-thons held by organizations such as Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the American Cancer Society.
National Childhood Obesity Initiative
The adoption of the Childhood Obesity Resolution at the 35th National Assembly in 2006 signified The Links, Incorporated’s recognition of the need for targeted intervention strategies that address and produce sustained results among African-American children battling obesity. The Southern Area’s success in launching this program gave root to the National Childhood Obesity Initiative.
With a purpose of developing and implementing strategies targeted to the specific health needs of African-American children, this initiative has been embraced to give a greater voice and sustainability to the health and well-being of our children. The Links, Incorporated plans to increase awareness and heighten understanding surrounding the multi-dimensional issues that contribute to obesity in African-American children. Additional goals are to: develop an action-oriented agenda for disseminating key messages that aid in the prevention of childhood obesity among African-American children and to establish approaches that will strengthen collaborative networks regarding obesity prevention to sustain on-going health initiatives.
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