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Celebrate Health, Diversity, and Equity at the San Mateo County Black History Month Health Fair

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On February 25, the San Mateo County African American Community Initiative (AACI) is hosting a Health Fair: Mind, Body & Spirit Matters. The event will promote health and wellness and raise awareness about health disparities that impact the African American community.

While health varies by race, income, and education across San Mateo County, the county’s African American population faces some of the worst local health outcomes. Compared to other ethnic groups in San Mateo County, African American adults have higher percentages of asthma, diabetes, and overweight or obesity. In regards to behavioral health, 12% of people in treatment for substance use disorders identify as African American, compared to 3% of the total San Mateo County population. African Americans are also more likely to experience symptoms of depression than their white counterparts – but half as likely to receive counseling.

“Participating in events such as the Black History Month Health Fair help us better address the needs of the local African American community,” said Jei Africa, Office of Diversity and Equity Manager with San Mateo County Health System Behavioral Health and Recovery Services. “By providing a place for the community to come together, share stories, and promote wellness, we can take one step towards reducing health disparities in our county.”

Participants in the Mind, Body & Spirit Matters Health Fair will get a chance to:

  • Learn about health disparities that impact the African American community and what resources are available.

  • Create change in the African American community by exploring ways to improve and maintain health.

  • Experience the Black Lives Matter Photovoice project, a process where people identify, represent, and enhance their community through photography and sharing their stories.

The Mind, Body & Spirit Matters Health Fair will take place on Saturday, February 25, 2017 from 9:00am – 1:00pm at the East Palo Alto Community Church, 2201 University Avenue in East Palo Alto. The keynote speaker at the event is Dr. Mary Bains, a licensed psychotherapist, organizational development psychologist, and longtime provider of community mental health services in the Bay Area. The public is welcome to attend this free event and a soulful lunch will be provided. Find more event details here.

About the African American Community Initiative

For 10 years, San Mateo County’s African American Community Initiative (AACI) has worked to increase access to quality, culturally appropriate mental health services for African American residents and to address health disparities. The Initiative remains committed to improving health outcomes and reducing health disparities for African Americans in San Mateo County. The African American Community Initiative is one of several Health Equity Initiatives run by the Office of Diversity and Equity. Funding for the initiatives comes from the voter approved California Mental Health Services Act. Find more information about the Initiative at www.smchealth.org/AACI.

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