According to the Centers for Disease Control, African American women are three times more likely to die from complications due to pregnancy. They are more apt to be disproportionately burdened by chronic conditions, such as anemia, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and obesity. In fact, experts believe that racial differences in socioeconomic (education and employment) and housing outcomes result in systematic unequal treatment of Black women.

In an effort to combat those disturbing statistics, the Defender, Houston’s Leading Black Information Source, will host the 2nd State of Black Women Health Forum at HISD’s Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy, 1906 Cleburne St., in Houston. The event scheduled on Wednesday, May 18 is two-fold with student assemblies in the morning and an adult program beginning with a reception at 5:30 p.m. and a program at 6:30 p.m.

Health questions from the audience will be answered by Black medical professionals who commonly address the health care needs unique to Black women. Admission is free with registration.

“This forum brings Black girls and Black women together with women medical professionals to help provide a roadmap for their lifelong health journey,” said Sonny Messiah-Jiles, CEO of the Defender Network. “We are grateful for our sponsors who recognize the importance of empowering Black women with health information to improve the quality of their lives.”

Sponsors for the 2nd State of Black Women Health Forum are H-E-B., Texas Children’s Hospital, J.P. Morgan Chase, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, HillDay Public Relations, and The Steve Fund, an organization dedicated to the mental health and emotional well-being of young people of color.

“At H-E-B, our mission is to do our part to take care of Texans, and we’re proud to support wellness initiatives that work to educate and improve the health of women and communities of color,” said Winell Herron, H-E-B Group Vice President of Public Affairs, Diversity and Environmental Affairs. “H-E-B believes food plays an important role in a person’s wellbeing, and we’re committed to providing families throughout Texas quality, nutritional food to help them live happier and healthier lives.

“Black women, especially younger women, are more likely to have more aggressive breast cancers, get them at an earlier age, and die more often from the disease, making breast cancer screening, early detection, and clinical trial enrollment especially important for our community,” said Lorna McNeill, Ph.D., chair of Health Disparities Research at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. McNeill will speak on clinical trials and health disparities at the event.

“Texas Children’s Hospital is incredibly proud to be a sponsor of this year’s State of Black Women Health Forum,” said Michelle Riley Brown, Executive Vice President of Texas Children’s Hospital. “All Black women and girls should have access not only to quality medical care that specifically addresses their needs but also to vital information essential for their long-term physical and emotional health. Thank you so much to all the participating speakers and panelists and to Sonny Messiah-Jiles for spearheading this critical conversation.”

Black women organizations from across the city will encourage members to participate in the forum with the goal of winning the special attendance prizes: First prize of $1,000, Second prize of $500, or Third prize of $250. The event includes swag bags for the first one hundred attendees, chair massages, door prizes, and lots of fun and information.

To register for the event, visit our Eventbrite page