Heart & History: Addressing Racial Disparities in Cardiovascular Health

Heart & History: Addressing Racial Disparities in Cardiovascular Health

 Doctor and Patient

February is Heart Health Month and an important time to elevate awareness, increase understanding and ultimately inspire action surrounding cardiovascular health. February is also Black History Month – a time to celebrate the achievements of Black Americans, recognize their contributions to our nation’s history and pay tribute to the generations of Black Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve equality in American society.

At the intersection of these observances lie profound and sobering data that show cardiovascular disease disproportionately affects Black Americans and that illuminate the health inequities facing communities of color, placing those within these populations at greater risk for poor health outcomes.1

This month, we’ve partnered with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., to bring you a Special Edition newsletter that seeks to elevate awareness and understanding of artery disease. Read the newsletter and visit www.clotwise.com for more information and resources that can help you recognize the signs and symptoms of artery disease.

Content sponsored and provided by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.



  1. Carnethon MR, et al. Cardiovascular Health in African Americans: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association. 2017;136:e393–e423. https://doi.org/10.1161/CIR.0000000000000534


© Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 2022



Announcing the opening of the Bishop Richard H. Cain Community Garden in Lincolnville, SC

Announcing the opening of the Bishop Richard H. Cain Community Garden in Lincolnville, SC

LINCOLNVILLE, SC (April 9, 2021) — A group of nonprofits and members of the Lincolnville community will host the launch of the African American Church Community Garden and Food Security Project on April 10, 2021. This project aims to strengthen the collective power of Black churches of various denominations to establish an equitable food system for their local communities across the state of SC. Launching in Lincolnville, SC because of the town’s long history of Black empowerment dating back to its founding in the late 1860s, this inaugural garden will be named the Bishop Richard Harvey Cain Community Garden after the faith leader who founded the town. Bishop Cain also founded Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, the host church for the launch of the project, after purchasing a large tract of farmland together with a group of other Black leaders from Charleston. 

 The African American Church Community Garden and Food Security Project is an initiative of The Balm In Gilead, a national organizations based in Richmond, VA. The Office of Health Disparities Research Mayo Clinic has joined with the Balm In Gilead and The Black Church Food Security Network, a project partner, to support the evaluation components of the initiative. 

Bishop Samuel Green, Sr., Presiding Prelate of the 7th Episcopal District of the AME Church; Rev. Dr. Kylon Middleton Charleston County Councilman, District #6;  Rev. George E. McKain, Director of Public Affairs & Social Concerns, of the AME Zion Church; participating faith leaders from across the state; political leaders and members of the Town of Lincolnville  will join hands to plant the first seeds of the Bishop Richard Harvey Cain Community Garden.


The Launch of the African American Church Community Garden and Food Security Project-SC and the opening of the Bishop Richard H. Cain Community Garden


Ebenezer AME Church, Host Church, in partnership with The Balm in Gilead, the Black Church Food Security Network, and the Lincolnville Preservation & Historical Society



Saturday, April 10, 2021 at 10:00 am


Location on the Parcel of Land: 112 Dunmeyer Hill Road, Lincolnville, SC Event will be held outdoors in accordance with CDC-recommended guidelines, including the practice of social distancing and masks worn by  participants and guests.

About The Balm In Gilead 

Celebrating 32 years of service, The Balm In Gilead works to prevent diseases and improve the health status of individuals by providing support to faith-based and other institutions in areas of

program design, implementation and evaluation. This support strengthens their capacity to deliver programs and services that contribute to the elimination of health disparities among African Americans.

Description of The Black Church Food Security Network 

The Black Church Food Security Network strengthens and establishes economic ventures that supply every part of the food system by utilizing an asset-based approach in organizing and linking the vast resources of historically African American congregations and Black farmers in rural and urban areas.

Learn about a rare, inherited condition

Learn about a rare, inherited condition

Hereditary ATTR (hATTR) amyloidosis is a rare, genetic condition that affects an estimated 50,000 people worldwide. It is caused by a gene change, or mutation, that affects the function of a protein called transthyretin (TTR). In hATTR amyloidosis, the TTR gene mutation causes the protein to take on an abnormal shape and misfold, which causes the protein to build up in various parts of the body, including the nerves, heart, and digestive system. This build-up of proteins, also called amyloid deposits, causes the symptoms of hATTR amyloidosis.

Although anyone can be at risk for this disease, it is more common in certain ethnicities, including people of African, Irish, and Portuguese descent. It is estimated that approximately 1 in 25 (4%) African Americans have a certain TTR gene mutation associated with hATTR amyloidosis.

Symptoms of hATTR amyloidosis can be very different from person to person and can affect some parts of the body more than others. Some symptoms a person with hATTR amyloidosis may experience include:

  • Tingling and/or numbness in the hands and feet
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands
  • Dizziness upon standing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Kidney dysfunction
  • Weakness
  • Burning pain
  • Loss of sensitivity to temperature

This is not a complete list of symptoms that may be experienced in patients with hATTR amyloidosis. Each patient has a different experience and you may not experience all of these symptoms, or you may not experience them at the same time.

hATTR amyloidosis is passed down through family members. If one parent has hATTR amyloidosis, each child will have a 50% chance of inheriting a mutation that may cause this condition. A family member may inherit the TTR gene mutation, but that does not necessarily mean he or she will develop hATTR amyloidosis.

Educating yourself and your loved ones about the symptoms of this condition can help you identify them if they occur. Symptoms may worsen over time, so it’s important to talk to your doctor to determine the right plan of action. This may include referring you to a doctor with more experience with hATTR amyloidosis or recommending you work with a genetic counselor. A genetic counselor can help you learn more about the genetic testing process and if a genetic test may be right for you.

You and your family can also learn more about hATTR amyloidosis from Alnylam Patient Education Liaisons (PELs), who are professionals with backgrounds in nursing or genetic counseling and who can answer questions and provide helpful resources about this condition.

Visit www.hATTRbridge.com for more information about hATTR amyloidosis and visit www.hATTRPEL.com to connect with a PEL.

This message is sponsored and provided by Alnylam Pharmaceuticals.

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SDFI Announces Distance Learning Classes and Virtual Town Hall

SDFI Announces Distance Learning Classes and Virtual Town Hall

“Diabetes Prevention & You” Town Hall

African Americans represent roughly 13% of the United States population, but account for nearly 85% of the number of persons who have died from COVID-19. This is a startling statistic that indicates the devastating impact of health disparities in chronic health conditions like Type 2 diabetes, disproportionately affecting African Americans and communities of color.

More than 84 million adults in the United States live with prediabetes, and another 30 million already have Type 2 diabetes. African Americans are twice as likely to die from diabetes than whites, only adding to the many burdens Black communities face in America.

Now more than ever, it is crucial that individuals most at risk for Type 2 diabetes find realistic ways to help prevent this manageable condition. The Southeast Diabetes Faith Initiative (SDFI), a program of The Balm In Gilead, is ready to help families and the faith community take a stand and fight back against diabetes by providing faith-based diabetes prevention programs.

To better serve our communities and increase access to this evidence-based lifestyle change program that is a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Diabetes Prevention Program, SDFI is going virtual!

Beginning this Fall, eligible persons will be able to join one of our distance learning classes. Our experienced lifestyle coaches will be there to guide and support you along this amazing journey to a healthier YOU! Offering culturally tailored, interactive sessions, SDFI does not just provide you with information, but surrounds you with the emotional, spiritual, and mental support you need. Get access to recipes, fitness programs, food journals, and other tools to help you along the way.

Mark your calendar and make plans now to join The Balm In Gilead’s first Southeast Diabetes Faith Initiative “Diabetes Prevention & You” Town Hall on October 8, 2020. During the town hall, we will have an in-depth conversation about Type 2 diabetes, COVID-19, and how we are making SDFI work for our community.

For providers and healthcare professionals, connect with us to explore opportunities to sign up to become a SDFI Healthcare Partner. Our state managers can work with you and your clients to set up informational sessions to raise awareness about the need to increase screening, testing, and referral opportunities for vulnerable populations. Sign up today to receive more information.