On Saturday, October 15, the First Ladies Health Initiative – a consortium of more than 160 pastors’ wives (First Ladies) from across the U.S. – will host the 3rd Annual First Ladies Health Day in Gary. Dozens of houses of worship across Northwest Indiana will turn the Genesis Convention Center into a “Health & Harmony center,” offering attendees no-cost medical testing and health screenings to detect or prevent systemic illnesses such as diabetes, hepatitis, hypertension, HIV/AIDS, obesity and certain forms of cancer. This year’s goal is to surpass 30,000 screenings for men and women.
“We are, again, happy to join Walgreens in hosting the First Ladies Health Day,” said Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson. “We thank Methodist Hospitals, the First Ladies of Gary, and all of our neighboring communities for their support of this event that offers an array of no-cost health screenings to the citizens of Gary and Northwest Indiana. The church has traditionally served as a hospital for spiritual growth and healing; so, it’s a natural fit for our faith-based communities to expand their offerings to include health and wellness services. We invite Gary residents to come out on October 15th and take advantage of these health tests.”
In addition to the no-cost health offerings, the Gary event will feature inspirational speakers, including an “Ask the Doctor” segment, entertainment for children, and a music showcase of area gospel choirs. Free transportation will be provided for senior high-rise buildings, as well as area shelters for men and women. For details or to sign up for transportation, call 219-881-1302.
The event is sponsored by Walgreens which, in 2006, collaborated with local pastors’ wives to develop a community-based program which confronts troubling health disparities head-on. The result was the First Ladies Health Initiative which has expanded tremendously — starting with the wives of 12 pastors in Chicago to 172 First Ladies from Chicago, Gary, Los Angeles and Orange County. To date, First Ladies Health Day is the nation’s largest of its kind, with nearly 200,000 medical tests and health screenings performed, and many lives positively impacted.
John Gremer, director of Community Relations for Walgreens, summed up the corporation’s commitment to advancing health in minority communities. “According to the Center for Disease Control, minority communities are disproportionately impacted by illnesses such as hepatitis C, hospitalizations related to hypertension, and other critical medical concerns. We had to do something to move these communities closer to healthy. Our support of the First Ladies Health Initiative started when it launched; and, today, we continue to share a common mission of creating healthier communities.”
The First Ladies Health Initiative is sponsored by Walgreens. Participating health providers for the Gary event include: Methodist Hospitals, Gilead, the American Heart Association, Boston Scientific, Breast Care Center, NeuroScience Institute, Heart and Vascular Institute, and Ivy Tech Community College. “Methodist Hospitals is always looking for opportunities to collaborate with other organizations to improve the health of the families of Northwest Indiana,” said Raymond Grady, president and CEO, Methodist Hospitals. “The First Ladies Day in Gary is an excellent vehicle for reaching out to our faith-based community and we are happy to help the wives of our community’s pastors bring greater awareness of the importance of wellness and preventive health to their congregations.”
For more information and a complete listing of all participating churches and First Ladies, please visit www.FirstLadiesHealth. com; or call (312) 470-0270. Follow the action on social media using #FirstLadiesHealth.
About the First Ladies Health Initiative
The First Ladies Health Initiative is held annually in metropolitan areas across the U.S., including Chicago, Gary, Ind., Los Angeles, and Orange County, Calif. Produced by Danielle Ashley Group and sponsored by Walgreens, it is designed to bring awareness to illnesses that disproportionately affect African Americans, Latinos and low-income communities; and increase first ladies’ participation in the Health Day. The program kicks off with a luncheon attended by nearly 200 pastors’ wives who receive information from medical professionals on how to educate their communities about various illnesses; then, culminates with First Ladies Health Day, the largest health day of its kind in the nation. More information is available at www.firstladieshealth.com.