Sandtown Health Awareness Speaker Series

Official Dosomething.org Project

The Problem

Johanna’s outstanding program will offer life-changing seminars in Sandtown-Winchester, Maryland, a 72 square block neighborhood in West Baltimore, where residents are struggling with unemployment and health issues. The median income is around $15,000/year and over 50% of the population suffers from unemployment. Researchers have proven that low income correlates highly with decreased access to and knowledge of appropriate health care. As a way to increase health care awareness, Joanna has organized the “New Song’s Health Awareness Seminar Series.” The seminars will run February through May and will consist of invited speakers presenting and teaching individuals how to care for themselves, as well as practical and accessible way to improve their lifestyles.

Plan of Action

With funding, we were able to move forwards in planning for the event. Our first task was to identify an appropriate theme for the seminar and find a speaker. We determined that diabetes was an important issue in the community and since Dr. Belinda Chen, director of the Health Co-Op, had available materials and expertise on the subject, we decided that she would give the seminar. We prepared most of the food ourselves, since that would be more practical for the residents to apply to their daily lives. We also included nutritional facts about the meal so participants could portion their own meals. The seminar was a success – we had sixteen participants that all had personal interest in diabetes. We started off the seminar by having Dr. Chen explain some common misconceptions about diabetes and explaining the difference between type I and type II diabetes and how they affect the body. The latter part of the seminar included an interactive session with audience questions and discussions about how to better manage diabetes. Overall, the seminar accomplished what we had set out to do.

Project Updates

After winning a DoSomething Grant we were able to make lots of progress, and mostly it allowed us to fund the series independently and have resources to buy glucometer strips and have the ability to provide for the participants. Thank you!

Our first task was to identify the theme for the seminar and to find a corresponding speaker. We determined that diabetes was an important issue in the community and since Dr. Belinda Chen, director of the Health Co-Op, had available materials and expertise on the subject, we decided that she would give the seminar.

My project allowed the Health Co-Op to offer services to members of the community who had no previous exposure to our center. We were able to combine healthy living with diabetes in this seminar through the meal portion of the seminar. We prepared most of the food ourselves, since that would be more practical for the residents to apply to their daily lives. We also included nutritional facts about the meal so participants could portion their own meals. In addition, a Rite-Aid pharmacy was kind enough to donate a glucometer and testing strips so we could test individuals’ blood sugar. The seminar was a success – we had sixteen participants that all had personal interest in diabetes.

We started off the seminar by having Dr. Chen explain some common misconceptions about diabetes and explaining the difference between type I and type II diabetes and how they affect the body. The latter part of the seminar included an interactive session with audience questions and discussions about how to better manage diabetes. Overall, the seminar accomplished what we had set out to do. We reached a target population in the Sandtown community and imparted practical applications of how to prevent diabetes progression and how to manage a lifestyle with diabetes. Without your help, none of this would have been possible. Thank you again for your support!

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