By: Lani Hansen, Reporter
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma– American Heart Association (AHA) statistics show that among American Indians or Alaskan Natives, 13.7% have heart disease and 6.0% have coronary heart disease.
According to Rachel Crawford Regional Director of Native Initiative the American Heart Association, the AHA is one of the oldest and largest national organization that is focused on health, such as cardiovascular health. This organization has multiple regions across the United States, doing work in looking at equity and quality’s of health.
As part of focusing on cardiovascular health, February is American Heart month and the AHA along with volunteers from Muscogee (Creek) Nation Department of Health and BlueCross and BlueShield are hosting an event, Go Red for Native Women Heart Health Summit.
“We have been having this event for the last seven years, and it has been rotated between Oklahoma City and Tulsa,” Crawford said. “We have added another event in New Mexico as well, which was offered recently in Alberquerque. So we have had the Go Red for Native for several years and so this year is our Tulsa event. We are really pleased to provide this free event to the community.”
This event is tailored for the Native American community especially Native women. The AHA invites the community to attend and take use of the health screening that will be set up, along with presentations focused on health issues that impact women and Native people.
“This year we will have someone come and talk about the importance of a woman’s role in taking care of the family and looking out for our community,” Crawford said. “Women make sure that we are taking care of not just our mental health but also our physical health; mind, body, spirit and that we are living in a good way.”
Another presenter at this event is Chef Taelor Barton, who will speak about Indigenous foods, how to prepare heart healthy meals and the way how food can be medicine. Continuing on with the event, there will be three breakout sessions which the ladies can select to attend.
“One session will be over opioid use, and how to use culture to address that issue also the impact is has on cardiovascular health,” Crawford explained. “The other session will be about E-cigarettes or vaping, this presentation will provide our guest with information that maybe they were not aware of in terms of statistics and numbers around those who are using vaping or E-cigarettes. We will also have a presentation over diabetes and heart disease on how the two are correlated.”
After all the sessions have ended the AHA will be providing lunch. At the end of the event a provider will speak about the physical side of cardiovascular disease, along with the signs and symptoms for individuals to look for.
Go Red For Native Women Heart Health Summit will be on Feb. 28 at Glenpool Conference Center, 12205 S. Yukon Avenue, Glenpool, OK. The summit is 7:30 a.m. through 1:30 p.m. and free to attend. Register at www.tulsagorednativewomen.heart.org
For more information call Rachel Crawford at 405-593-6931.