AUSTIN (KXAN) – Volunteers from an Austin nonprofit hosted an event Saturday at the Montopolis Recreation Center to help raise awareness of health disparities affecting African Americans in their community.
Black Americans are much more likely than any other race to have kidney failure. For every three people living with kidney failure in the United States, one is African American, according to the American Kidney Fund.
Further, Black people have higher rates of illness and death compared to White people. Black individuals are more likely to report being in poor health, die of cancer and experience barriers when accessing health care, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
“Our goal was to have a Black family expo to expose some of the health disparities and things that we can do about them to make a difference,” said Dr. Dominique Isaac Williams, who was there working with the Links Incorporated – a large nationwide organization of Black women.
Saturday, volunteers from local chapters of the Links Incorporated offered blood pressure screenings, free mammograms, fitness classes, healthy snacks and information on the health disparities that affect their community, particularly kidney disease.
“By bringing awareness about how these chronic diseases like kidney disease, we’re hoping to intervene so that people don’t progress to dialysis and kidney failure,” Williams said.
Today was the first gathering of its kind but Shana Nichols, President of The Lone Star Chapter of the Links Incorporated, hopes to host more in the future.
“Taking care of yourself is always important. So we want to make sure that our community knows that we are here to provide services today and in the future. And knowing that your body is your only one and that you want to take care of while you’re here,” Nichols said.