Martin University – Indiana's only predominantly Black institution – recently hosted a public health summit, aimed at increasing awareness of heart disease in the Black community and other minority populations.
Onyedika Ilonze, MD, MPH, FACC, FHFSA, an assistant professor in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine, delivered the keynote address.
The National Center for Racial Equity and Inclusion at Martin University hosts quarterly summits “designed to explore relevant social determinants of health for the Black community, raise awareness, and also provide a connection to resources for those who live with these ailments or provide support,” according to its website.
Ilonze’s talk was titled "Key Facts About Optimizing Cardiovascular Health in Minoritized Populations.” He provided an overview of the 2024 American Heart Association statistics on hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes mellitus and other risk factors, and discussed the disproportionate ways in which these factors can affect certain populations.
He concluded by explaining the American Heart Association’s Life’s Essential 8 and how it can provide a framework to reduce cardiovascular risk.
The components of Life's Essential 8, according to the association’s website, include diet, physical activity, nicotine exposure, sleep health, body mass index, blood lipids, blood glucose, and blood pressure. These are key measures for improving and maintaining cardiovascular health thereby lowering the risk for heart disease and stroke.
Disparities exist in nearly every aspect of health, including quality of health care, access to care, utilization of health care and health outcomes, despite notable improvements in the overall health of the United States during the past two decades.
As of 2019, Black and African Americans were 30 percent more likely to die from heart disease than non-Hispanic whites, according to the Office of Minority Health.
Krannert Cardiovascular Research Center (KCVRC) at Indiana University School of Medicine houses the Cardiovascular Equity Research Program, which is focused on reducing racial, ethnic and gender disparities in treating advanced cardiovascular disease.
Led by Khadijah Breathett, MD, MS, FACC, FAHA, FHFSA, is imperative to understand the impact of the various facets of disparities on advanced cardiovascular disease that include but are not limited to gender, race and socioeconomic factors.