‘Living My Best Life’

April’s Minority Health Month events are free and open to the public

‘STOP THE VIOLENCE’ — The first of five events in April planned in observance of Minority Health Month is the fifth-annual “Stop the Violence” 5K Walk/Run, which will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 6 with the starting and ending point at Steubenville City Hall. On location to discuss the event recently were some of the overall Minority Health Month committee planners, including, from left, Angela Kirtdoll, Jacqueline Gibson, Cynthia Lytle, Sandi Rue and Kevin Schrader. -- Janice Kiaski

STEUBENVILLE — Minority Health Month’s 2019 theme of “Living My Best Life” speaks to a long-term lifestyle to embrace, not just a catchy phrase for the April observance, organizers say.

“This year, we are really focusing on using Minority Health Month activities as a way to kickstart health-centered discussions, habits and practices that our community can use all year round, not just for one month,” explained Cynthia Lytle, director of community development for Urban Mission Ministries.

“We also are incorporating elements that address the whole person — mind, body and spirit. We want to see our families and communities living well, living their very best lives,” Lytle said.

“We want people to walk away from our events feeling empowered, saying — ‘Today, I start living my best life.'”

Minority Health Month was created in 1989 to be a 30-day, high-visibility health promotion and disease prevention campaign, according to the website of the Ohio Commission on Minority Health. “Conducted with and by community-based agencies and organizations, this celebration reaches into urban, suburban and rural areas of the state. In 2000, Minority Health Month became a national celebration,” it notes.

Minority Health Month, according to the website, was designed to:

¯ Provide crucial information to allow individuals to practice disease prevention;

¯ Promote healthy lifestyles;

¯ Showcase the providers of grassroots healthcare resources and information;

¯ Highlight the disparate health conditions between Ohio’s minority and non-minority populations; and

¯ Gain additional support for ongoing efforts to improve minority health year-round.

“Minority Health Month is funded by the Ohio Commission on Minority Health. We also are grateful for local sponsorships and support,” Lytle said, emphasizing all Minority Health Month events are free and open to the public.

On Friday, the Jefferson County Health Department will host the kick-off event for April’s Minority Health Month activities and observances. The event will take place at the health department, located on the seventh floor of the Towers Building at 500 Market St. It begins at 12:30 p.m. and ends by 1:30 p.m. with refreshments. It will involve the announcement of the local events in addition to Jefferson County Health Department programs and prevention education on minority health disparities in Ohio.

“This is a lunch-hour informational session for local agencies, businesses, churches, etc.,” Lytle said. “This event is in partnership with the health department.”

Poster, fliers and postcards about Minority Health Month local events will be available to distribute throughout the community, according to Lytle.

“This year, the Neighborhood Community Development Center of the Urban Mission will offer a total of five events,” she said. “All events are funded by the Ohio Commission on Minority Health.

The first event will be the fifth-annual “Stop the Violence” 5K Walk/Run, which will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 6 with the starting and ending point at Steubenville City Hall.

“We created the ‘Stop the Violence’ 5K Walk/Run four years ago as a way to address the issue of violence in our community,” Lytle said. “This event provides our community with an opportunity to not only address the issue of violent crimes, but to educate our community on the growing concern of violence as a minority health disparity. Each mile is dedicated to victims of violent crimes, with mile markers along the route to display the names of community loved ones lost to violence,” she said.

“In addition, the 5K promotes wellness and encourages family and community exercise,” she said, noting the event features a sidewalk health fair and community luncheon. The health fair will include local health agencies on hand to provide information, blood pressure screenings and giveaways.

Steubenville Mayor Jerry Barilla will provide an official city welcome for the 5K and will be joined by Commons Pleas Court Judge Michelle Miller and the Rev. JoElla Williams of Bridging Leadership, Steubenville, who will provide words of encouragement and “purpose for our community.”

A memorial balloon release will round out the event, according to Lytle, who noted giveaways will be provided for all participants.

Registration is open for the 5K online at www.urbanmission.org or by calling the Urban Mission at (740) 282-8010. The official sponsors for the event are Ambulance Service Inc. and Jefferson Security Services Inc.

A “Dance for Life” workshop is the second event to mark Minority Health Month. It will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on April 12 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center, located at 905 Market St.

“The Dance for Life Workshop was created to introduce different styles of dance as a form of exercise,” Lytle said. “This year’s workshop will include a discussion on financial health presented by Huntington Bank,” she added. The workshop will feature dance instructor and fitness center owner Beverly Thomas of Bodies by Bev in Wintersville along with line dancers from a local community line dance group under the direction of Asantewa Anyabwile.

The workshop is being sponsored by Eastern Gateway Community College, Target and Rural King. Registration is under way for the workshop online at www.urbanmission.org or by calling the mission.

A women’s mammogram screening and health fair is the third event on the calendar. It will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on April 26 at First Westminster Presbyterian Church, located at 235 N. Fourth St.

“This event is made possible through a partnership with the Breast and Cervical Cancer Project, North East Region,” Lytle noted. It is open to women with and without insurance. Screenings are free for women 40 and older without insurance. Women with Medicaid or other insurance can participate, and their insurance will be billed.

The health fair is open to women 18 and older.

“Participants will enjoy free refreshments, giveaways and have an opportunity to enter for a chance to win drawing prizes during this event,” Lytle said.

Pre-registration is required for screenings. Women who are interested must call BCCP NE Region at (800) 443-2168, extension 1353, for Cynthia Miller, nurse navigator.

Mount Carmel Community Baptist Church at 708 N. Fifth St. will host a men’s health breakfast from 9 a.m. to noon on April 27.

“The men’s health breakfast was created to encourage healthier eating habits while discussing various minority health disparities affecting minority males,” Lytle said.

Guest speakers will include Dr. Gary Tan, urologist, Trinity Health System, and Jaric “Justice” Slappy, founder of the U.N.I.T.Y Garden, Steubenville. The event will be catered by Living Proof Catering Services, Chef Janese Boston.

The final event of the month is the men’s free prostate screenings, which will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on April 30 at the Tony Teramana Cancer Center.

“This event is made possible every year through a partnership with Tony Teramana Cancer Center, local urologists and Women In Action Against Cancer Coalition of Jefferson County,” Lytle said, adding, “The staff of the Tony Teramana Cancer Center aid us in scheduling patients for screenings. Each year they provide tailgate-style refreshments for all participants in attendance.”

Drs. Dominic Ferrera and Tan will serve as the urologists for this year’s screenings, according to Lytle. “Women in Action Against Cancer Coalition of Jefferson County funds the event each year, which enables us to make this a free event for our participants,” she said.

Men must pre-register for screenings by calling Barb Steitz, patient navigator for the Tony Teramana Cancer Center, at (740) 264-8207.

“As a community we must learn to take health promotion and disease prevention seriously,” Lytle said of the value of April’s observance of Minority Health Month.

“It’s an opportunity for members of our community to take advantage of free health services and receive valuable information that can change and possibly save lives,” she said.

“Last year, we had our highest turnout for our men’s free prostate screening, and while we are proud of our men, we had to take a look at the low attendance of our women’s mammogram screening and health fair. We work closely with local health care professionals to discuss the why’s and how’s of various health disparities, and we really want members of our community to take advantage of the free services and information being provided,” Lytle continued.

“We have a great network of hospitals, doctors, health care providers and agencies in this valley that are ready and waiting to take care of you and show you how you can take care of yourself,” she added.

Members of the Neighborhood Community Development Center Advisory Committee making plans for the month include: Angela Kirtdoll, kick-off informational session; Kevin Schrader, 5K walk/run; Sandi Rue and Jacqueline Gibson, women’s screening and health fair; Sharon Kirtdoll and Patti West, men’s prostate screening; Michelle Hada, “Dance for Life” workshop; Paul Rue and Kent Lewis, men’s health breakfast; Angela Kirtdoll and Jalil Harvey, marketing and publicity; and Tiffany Beckwith, event volunteer coordinator who can be contacted at (740) 282-8010 for opportunities to assist during the activities in April.

(Kiaski can be contacted at jkiaski@heraldstaronline.com.)