The Links, Incorporated established the Health and Human Services facet in response to the chronic health disparities that persist in black communities and result in the decreased life expectancy of African Americans and other people of African ancestry. The goal of HHS 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 National Breast Health Initiative educates The Links membership and 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.
The National Childhood Obesity Initiative increases awareness and heightens understanding surrounding the multi-dimensional issues that contribute to obesity in African-American children and their families. Through an action-oriented agenda we disseminate key messages that aid in the prevention of childhood obesity among African-American children and we establish collaborative networks to sustain on-going health initiatives.
The HeartLinks to Heart Health Signature Program encourages Links members and communities to take an aggressive stance against heart disease, the number one killer of African-American women. HeartLinks accomplishes its goal by equipping Links chapters with numerous ways to implement heart healthy activities in their communities including: Walk for a Healthy Living, Red Dress events, and cardiovascular risk reduction programs.
The National HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C Initiatives ensures that Links members and 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. Through these initiatives 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.
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.
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. The National Mental Health Initiative collaborates with each Links programming facet to incorporate wellness into all Links programs. 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 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 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.
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