Health and Human Services

The Links, Incorporated established the Health and Human Services facet in response to the chronic health disparities that persist in our communities and result in the decreased life expectancy of African-Americans.  The mission of the Health and Human Services facet is to promote and facilitate programs that support the maintenance of good health and the elimination of chronic health disparities in communities of color through education, health advocacy, and optimal utilization of health resources. Community education about health risks is crucial and The Links, Incorporated plays a significant role in providing it.

The areas of emphasis are cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, and organ tissue, blood and bone marrow donation. This includes the national signature programs: the National Breast Health Initiative, the National Childhood Obesity Initiative, HeartLinks to Heart Health, the National HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C Initiatives, Linkages to Life, the National Mental Health Initiative, the National Oral Health Initiative. and Walk for Healthy Living.

Learn more about Health and Human Services’ signature programs and national initiatives.

New Orleans (LA) Chapter Health and Human Services Programming

The logo-heart-truthHeartLinks to Heart Health campaign aims to increase women’s awareness of heart disease and its dangers. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among African American and Hispanic women.  Women of color also have high rates of the major risk factors for this disease including obesity, physical inactivity and high blood pressure. The New Orleans Chapter incorporates heart health education into all of its health related programming.
 
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New Orleans (LA) Chapter Childhood Obesity Programming. 
In Louisiana 17% of the children are overweight. Being overweight or obese substantially increases a child’s risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, sleep apnea, hypertension, some forms of cancer, and osteoarthritis. The New Orleans (LA) Chapter of the Links, Incorporated works with the students at Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary School to educate and encourage the students to adopt healthy eating habits and incorporate physical activity in their daily routines.

The New Orleans (LA) Chapter sponsors an annual symposium on obesity and healthy living at Isidore Newman School in New Orleans. The day is filled with round table discussions lead by respected physicians, educators, physical education professionals and local chefs and restaurateurs. Adults and children are engaged in thought provoking and practical discussions on healthy living for life. Additionally, participants are afforded opportunities to participate in exercise routines and how to physical education training from simple gym workouts, to dancing, to walking. Always a favorite part of the day, local chefs conduct cooking demonstrations and share practical tips on food selection and the preparation of healthy, nutritious, but always delicious everyday meals.

The New Orleans (LA) Chapter is fortunate to have five medical professionals as members – – four of whom are doctors and one dentist. Each share a wealth of knowledge and information about healthy living and making better lifestyle choices.

The National Breast Health Initiative educates the communities we serve about the importance of knowing one’s family history and the risk factors for breast cancer. Our goal encompasses advocacy and personal health record retention to ensure proper healthcare maintenance. We strive to provide mentoring, encouragement, and a safe haven for all to share personal journeys.

Each year, The New Orleans (LA) Chapter supports those organizations that advocate for breast health and for finding a cure, including the efforts of the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

The HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C Initiatives ensures that the communities we serve understand the incidence and prevalence of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C in the African-American community, how these infections are transmitted, and how the diseases can be prevented. We partner with national organizations that specialize in educating and preventing these diseases as well as partner with HBCUs and other African-American organizations committed to the fight against these diseases. 

The New Orleans (LA) Chapter has reached out to the community at health fairs, 5K runs, schools and other community events. Most recently, in August 2016, the chapter participated in a health fair at the Dryades YMCA and provided 500+ participants with information on HEP C and mental health well-being.

The National Mental Health Initiative’s  goal is to educate Links members about mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety, and social issues that impact our physical and mental health so that our members can take the knowledge learned into our communities. Each Links program facet incorporates wellness into its programming. By strategically partnering with organizations that specialize in black mental health issues and by identifying and sharing resources that educate on how to seek and find treatment, we help eliminate the stigma of mental illness within the black community.

The Walk for Healthy Living Signature Program teaches how healthy, sustained lifestyle changes can reduce the incidence of many diseases. The program’s goal is to encourage Links members, their families, and the communities we serve to improve their health by walking more. This is supported by the sponsoring of Links Walk-a-Thons and challenging members and the community we serve to take 10,000 steps each day. The New Orleans (LA) Chapter incorporates the theme of healthy living and lifestyle in all of its health related programming and activities.

Linkages to Life: Organ, Tissue and Bone Marrow Donation Awareness Signature Program educates Links members and the African-American community about the importance of and need for organ, tissue, and bone marrow donation as well as the importance of healthy living and prevention. Linkages to Life awareness initiatives are conducted in partnership with local and national transplant organizations, the faith-based community, and civic organizations.

Donor SabbathEach year, the New Orleans (LA) Chapter participates in National Donor Sabbath. National Donor Sabbath is observed annually on Friday through Sunday two weekends before Thanksgiving. In 2016, National Donor Sabbath will be observed November 11-13. In 2017, it will be observed November 10-12.

During National Donor Sabbath, faith leaders from many religions, donor families, transplant recipients, and donation and transplantation professionals participate in services and programs to increase awareness of the need for the lifesaving and enhancing gifts passed to others through transplantation and encourage people to sign up in their state registry as organ, eye, tissue, donors.

The National Oral Health Initiative addresses oral health in adults and children. Using Colgate’s Bright Smiles, Bright Futures program we teach our youth about proper oral care. The Bright Smiles, Bright Futures program provides Link chapters the opportunity to impact their communities by:

  • Helping families become knowledgeable on how oral health affects the body
  • Providing children free education and screenings
  • Providing families referrals to dentists willing to provide services for free and/or at nominal costs.
  • Helping families become knowledgeable about how diet affects dental care.

The National Dental Association is a professional association of minority dentists, working to promote oral health equity among people of color by harnessing the collective power of its members, advocating for the needs of and mentoring dental students of color, and raising the profile of the profession in our communities. The NDA partners with The Links, Incorporated and assists chapters with dental health programs to educate adults and children about the importance of good oral health. NDA also helps to identify dentists in local communities to participate in screening events for chapters and their communities.