American Heart Association National Minority Health Month EmPOWERED to Serve™ roundtable focuses on structural racism and mental health challenges facing women of color

April is National Minority Health Month and the American Heart Association, the leading global voluntary health organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke, will convene a virtual nationwide panel of professionals and community advocates to address the stigma associated with seeking help for mental health challenges which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. One in 3 adults in the U.S. reports being worried or depressed1 and more than half of U.S. adults say COVID-19 has negatively impacted their mental well-being due to worry and stress2. Women of color suffer disproportionately3

“Addressing the specific mental health needs of women of color is nothing to question, it is our birthright. It is the nation’s greatest legacy as it is the gift that keeps on giving.”

Brandi Pritchett-Johnson, Ph.D

In collaboration with the Association’s Go Red for Women® movement, EmPOWERED to Serve™ will host an hour-long EmPOWERED Women Roundtable virtual event: Building Mental Resilience for Women of Color in the Midst of COVID-19, on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 8 p.m. EST/7 p.m. CST/5 p.m. PST. The livestreamed event is free and open to the public. Attendees can register at the EmPOWERED to Serve website.

The EmPOWERED to Serve platform harnesses the passion of individuals and organizations to overcome barriers to health equity.  Moderator Lorisa Bates, vice president of programming content strategy, co-productions and multiplatform at Black Entertainment Television (BET), will center the conversation around strategies and resources to promote mental and emotional well-being, resiliency and healing among Black and brown women.

Panelists include:

  • Roslyn Holliday Moore, acting director, office of minority health (OMH), deputy director for programs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS);
  • Ryan Mundy, former professional football player with the National Football League and founder and CEO of Alkeme Health Co., a digital health company with a mission to become the universal healthcare provider for the Black community;
  • Brandi Pritchett-Johnson, Ph.D, clinical assistant professor and ASPIRE coordinator at University of Florida and executive director of Future 4 Teens; and,
  • Arisha Smith, mom, wife, entrepreneur and social media influencer who is managing high blood pressure due to stress caused by the pandemic.

The April event is one of four virtual EmPOWERED Women Roundtables the Association has planned as part of its commitment to building healthier lives – mental and physical – for all. Earlier this year, the American Heart Association announced plans to invest more than $230 million over the next four years to support targeted initiatives and programs, while leading additional efforts to drive systemic public health change focused on improving health equity and tackling issues of health justice and structural racism head on.

Additional Resources

About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health, and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookTwitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1. 

1  Yeli Wang, Monica Palanichamy Kala, Tazeen H. Jafar,Factors associated with psychological distress during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on the predominantly general population: A systematic review and meta-analysis (plos.org), PLOS, (December 2020)
2  Liz Hamel, Audrey Kearney , Ashley Kirzinger , Lunna Lopes, Cailey Muñana, and Mollyann Brodie  KFF Health Tracking Poll – July 2020 KFF Health Tracking Poll – July 2020 | KFF 
3 Anticipatory Racism Threat and Superwoman Schema: Elucidating the Relationship Between Racial Discrimination and Chronic Inflammation

SOURCE American Heart Association