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Say hello to our new health page

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Glenn H. Burkins is editor of Qcitymetro.com. Email editor at Qcitymetro.com or call 704-442-1565.

It’s no secret that black Americans suffer tremendous health disparities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says we have the highest age-adjusted death rate of all races and ethnicities.

That pattern holds true, the CDC says, when measured against heart disease, cancer, diabetes and HIV/AIDS.

Now that we’ve reaffirmed the problem, how do we begin to address the root causes?

The CDC says a portion of our elevated death rate may be blamed on institutional racism and other stress-inducing social factors. That’s a tough one to fix. But the agency also points to a range of self-inflicted wounds — diets too high in salt and fat, too little exercise and, of course, violence.

When the editors of Qcitymetro began brainstorming things we wanted to accomplish in the New Year, it didn’t take long before we landed on the idea of a local health page. And with financial support from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, we have made that vision a reality.

Over the next year and beyond we hope this page will become a place where our readers can come to be inspired. Our goal is not to focus exclusively on the disparities we face but also on the many individuals and groups who are working in our communities to address those disparities.

We’ll introduce our readers to people like Robin Emmons, a local woman who has a passion for organic gardening. Through her nonprofit group Sow Much Good, she is organizing nutrition-related workshops in some of our low-income communities.

We’ll also tell you about organizations such as the Charlotte chapter of Black Girls Run, whose members give lie to the perception that African American females are too obsessed with their hair to sweat for their health. After hanging out briefly one cold, windy night in December, I can personally attest to the dedication of these runners and walkers.

Over the coming months you will read about the Rev. Harry L. Burns, who serves as chaplain at Presbyterian Hospital. Burns works with dozens of African American and Latino churches in the Charlotte area, assisting them in establishing and improving their health ministries. Perhaps you belong to one of those congregations. We want to tell others about the good works they are doing.

Like all health pages, of course, we will also offer useful tips and information to help our readers manage and improve their health. Our fitness columnist, Sondra E.Z. Hines, will move to this page. Be on the lookout for something new from her this year. We also want to recruit health care professionals — doctors, nurses, counselors and therapists — to help us answer some of our readers’ questions.

This health page, we hope, will be the start of something big and contagious in Charlotte, and I and the other Qcitymetro editors could not be more excited.

So, let us know what you think. You may start today by participating in our brief, online survey. Or maybe you have story ideas you want to suggest or health-related events you would like to see posted. Send your comments to editor@qcitymetro.com.

May 2012 bring you good health and much happiness.

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October 5, 2015
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