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Dr. Betty Price
Dozens of L.A.-area Churches in Black and Hispanic neighborhoods will simultaneously host free health day targeting chronic illnesses.
Pastors’ wives have long been considered the backbone of African-American churches, influencing decisions made by their husbands, and assisting in nurturing worshippers who seek personal guidance apart from the precious time that pastors can avail themselves.
It is this commitment to both the spiritual and physical health of their communities that is driving nearly three dozen “First Ladies,” or pastors’ wives, to come together for the second year and open their doors to host free medical tests for illnesses that particularly target African Americans and Hispanics.
On Sunday, May 19, a record number of churches in and around the Los Angeles area will simultaneously welcome Walgreens pharmacists and health care providers from HealthCare Partners, the California Department of Public Health and other organizations to perform health screenings for high blood pressure, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, breast cancer and other critical diseases, all free to participants.
Program chairperson Dr. Betty Price, former first lady of Crenshaw Christian Center of Los Angeles, says the program is crucial to many of her church members.
“Positively affecting the health of our community is our most important platform,” states Price. “Combining with first ladies from multiple churches to create a city-wide health initiative has brought infinite awareness to diseases that plague our communities, and greater opportunities for illness detection and treatment.”
Evelyn Perkins, the first lady of True Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Inglewood, returns as co-chairperson of the program for the second year.
The First Ladies Health Initiative, which is directed and sponsored by Walgreens, began in Chicago in 2008 as an information-driven luncheon intended to educate churches about health disparities in African-American communities, and elicit suggestions on how to combat the diseases. The inaugural health day was held in Chicago in 2010. The overall program was extended to Los Angeles the following year.
An estimated 18,000 individuals in Los Angeles and Chicago have undergone a combined 63,000 individual health screenings since the start of the First Ladies Health program. John Gremer, director of Community Affairs for Walgreens, says the initiative plays an essential role in the health of the participating communities.
“We are overwhelmed by the sheer number of individuals who have come to rely on the health day to learn critical information about their heath. Equally impressive is the amount of healthcare workers who graciously volunteer their time to provide the screenings, and then explain the results to participants. This is a labor of love that truly saves lives,” states Gremer, who has been the driving force behind the program since its inception.
In addition to the health screenings, various participating churches will offer information on mental illness, including Alzheimer’s, as well as mini-CPR training sessions with representatives from Los Angeles fire departments. Individuals who would like to have their health monitored may visit any of the participating churches, regardless of membership. Specific medical tests are determined per church.
More information on the First Lady Health Day is available at www.FirstLadiesHealth.com.
2013 Participating Churches:
Amen LA 4550 W. Adams Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90016
Antioch Church of Long Beach 1535 Gundry Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90813
Brookins Community AME 4831 S. Gramercy Place, Los Angeles, CA 90062
Calvary Baptist Church 1517 E. Alondra Blvd., Compton, CA 90221
Central Baptist Church 1641 E. Carson Street, Carson, CA 90745
Christ Ambassadors Christian Fellowship 1133 E. Redondo Boulevard, Inglewood, CA 90302
Christ Our Redeemer AME Church 46 Maxwell, Irvine, CA 92618
City of Refuge 14527 San Pedro Street, Gardena, CA 90248
Crenshaw Christian Center 7901 S. Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles CA 90056
Do Right Christian Church 9815 S. Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90044
The Experience Christian Ministries 1226 W. Compton Boulevard, Compton, CA 90220
Faithful Central Bible Church 333 W. Florence Avenue, Inglewood, CA 90301
Faithful Service MBC 1416 W. 37th Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90018
First Antioch MBC 8725 S. Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90002
Good Shepherd MBC 510 W. 53rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90037
Greater Love Christian Fellowship 10963 S. Western Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90047
Greater Mt. Sinai MBC 12317 S. Wilmington Avenue, Compton, CA 90222
House of God Apostolic Church 1740 W. 59th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90047
Liberty Baptist Church 1500 W. 51st Place, Los Angeles, CA 90062
Los Angeles Community Church 10611 S. Hoover Street, Los Angeles, CA 90044
Love Lifted Me MBC 6501 Crenshaw Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90043
Maranatha Community Church 1123 E. Redondo Boulevard, Inglewood, CA 90302
McCoy Baptist Church 802 E. 46th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90011
Ministerios Fuente de Aqua Viva 1105 E. Redondo Boulevard, Inglewood, CA 90302
Morning Star B.C. of Pasadena 980 Rio Grande, Pasadena, CA 91104
New Guiding Light MBC 2068 N. Fair Oaks Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91103
New Mt. Calvary Baptist Church 402 E. El Segundo Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90061
Park Windsor Baptist Church 1842 W. 108th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90047
Peoples Tabernacle of Faith Baptist Church 3635 W. Slauson Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90043
Redeemer MBC 1631 W. Adams Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90007
Shield of Faith Christian Center of Pomona 1750 W. Holt Avenue, Pomona, CA 91768
Southern Missionary Baptist Church 4678 W. Adams Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90016
True Friendship MBC 7901 S. Van Ness Avenue, Inglewood, CA 90305
True Gospel MBC 7723 S. Hoover Street, Los Angeles, CA 90044
Ward AME Church 1177 W. 25th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007