American University of Health Sciences (AUHS) welcomed a representative of the First Ladies Health Initiative to discuss terms of collaboration on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. Tiffany V. Bradshaw, the California Director for the First Ladies Health Initiative met with Pastor Gregory Johnson, AUHS Co-founder, and his associates to discuss the Sixth Annual Los Angeles First Ladies Health Day.
The Los Angeles First Ladies Health Day is a citywide event that will provide free support services and health screenings to communities throughout Los Angeles County on Sunday, March 26, 2017.
“The First Ladies Health Initiative started in Chicago in 2008 because we understand that there’s a lot of people within certain communities who go to church but don’t go to the doctor,” Bradshaw said, “So we decided we need to bring the doctors to the church.”
Bradshaw explained how her organization collaborated with “the First Ladies of the churches,” meaning the pastor’s wives, female clergy members, etc. The First Ladies Initiative aimed to inspire women of Christ to use their influence to empower their congregations to reach out to their communities and spread health awareness. The First Ladies Initiative is sponsored by Walgreen’s Pharmacy and each of the participating churches with a location will have a Walgreen’s pharmacist on-site. They will provide free screenings for diabetes, blood pressure, mammograms, cholesterol, and more.
The First Ladies Health Day is an admirable yet ambitious task. 30 churches in the Los Angeles area will participate in this upcoming health day.
“It’s one thing if we had the event at one place, it would make it really simple. But having the same event on the same day at 30 locations means I need 30 of everything,” Bradshaw said.
In order for a major event like The First Ladies Health Day to be a success, Bradshaw hopes to partner and collaborate with health care providers, local community organizations and schools such as AUHS. She asked Pastor Johnson what services he could help provide for the Los Angeles First Ladies Health Day.
“This is the first (First Ladies Health Day) and moving forward, if we have more time to plan and coordinate for the event, I think we can make it more and more robust,” said Pastor Johnson, “I think we will get reasonable turnout but the more we have advanced notice, then we can plan it as a standing institutional-wide event.”
One of the locations for the Los Angeles First Ladies Health Day is the Antioch Church of Long Beach. Pastor Johnson plans to meet with Pastor Wayne Chaney of Antioch Church to coordinate for this event. He said may be able to provide 40-50 AUHS nursing students to volunteer.
“I think we need to have a conversation with (Antioch) as quickly and as conveniently as possible so we will be able to coordinate, learn what they need and see what resources we can help provide,” Pastor Johnson said, “If they have everything they need, we can discuss how many nursing students we can put at different stations to assist.”
When Bradshaw mentioned that there will be a First Ladies Health Day in Orange County on April 30, 2017, Pastor Johnson asked why the event did not have a set date like International Women’s Day.
“If I’m going to have a First Ladies Health Day, I’m going to have a day for all the First Ladies in the world,” Pastor Johnson said, “If everybody in the country is doing First Ladies Health Day, you can go to different spots all over the U.S. and all of them will be talking about the same thing- health in the communities and the church’s responsibility to make the community healthier.”
Bradshaw appreciated Pastor Johnson’s enthusiasm and willingness to do more for the health of his community.
“This is the kind of partner that we need,” Bradshaw said, “Someone who comes in and says we should do First Ladies Health Day worldwide.”
AUHS is a private, for-profit, minority owned, minority serving, Christian-based university whose mission is to educate and equip students with life careers and to produce quality health care professionals for the community, the nation, and the world. It is a university where appreciation of life and one’s spiritual reason for existence can be nurtured.
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