Mahogany’s Child: An African American Women’s Health Program began its work in June 2001. The purpose of the program is to educate clientele on healthy behaviors and emphasize the importance of early detection of disease. The target population is economically disadvantaged African American women who are underserved due to economic hardship, mistrust of the healthcare system, lack of access to care, and disparity of resources.
The Mahogany’s Child coordinators initiate contact and seek participation from key African American churches. Working in conjunction with the pastoral staff, a “wise” woman is identified as the church facilitator of the program. The coordinators then conduct various health workshops with women’s groups within each church. Follow-up is done to determine the impact of the program upon health behaviors.
Mahogany’s Child is committed to each participating congregation for a three-year period, thereby developing a long-term, trusting relationship with the participants and churches.
The goal of Mahogany’s child is to promote health behavior changes by tapping into beliefs, attitudes, and values of the target population in a culturally sensitive and appropriate manner. The Church Partnership Program is just one aspect of the Mahogany’s Child Program.
The Advisory Board of Mahogany's Child, which is composed of African American women employees of Miami Valley Hospital, meet monthly to plan and review projects. The Board strives to support health programs that are relevant, compelling, and culturally sensitive. The Advisory Board partners with other community agencies to promote health in the female African American population.
Mahogany’s Child has participated in community events such as health fairs, demonstrations, and seminars. The Board conducts periodic fundraisers, such as MVH apparel sales, to sponsor an annual women’s health retreat for fifty economically disadvantaged African American women in our community.
Goals and Objectives
The Mahogany’s Child Program directly addresses multiple Healthy People 2010 goals for women’s health. The program aligns itself in the MVH strategic plan to build healthier communities. This strong commitment to some of the most vulnerable in the county benefits the entire community. As research shows, women make most of the health care decisions for the family. By encouraging healthy behaviors, the Mahogany’s Child program influences generations to come.
In reviewing health data for African American women, statistics reveal the following:
- Breast cancer in African American women is generally lower than Caucasians, but more black women are diagnosed at a later stage and mortality rate is higher.
- Cardiovascular disease and diabetes occur at higher rates in African American women with both presenting earlier.
- Diabetes is the fourth leading cause of death among black women in Ohio.
- Heart disease is the number one killer of Ohio women and is 28% higher in African Americans
- The cervical cancer rate is almost twice as high in black women in Montgomery County as in white women.
- Overall, black women are 70% more likely to become obese than white women.
- Newly diagnosed AIDS cases in African Americans are outpacing Caucasians with the female rate increasing dramatically; 54% of women living with HIV/AIDS in Ohio are black.
- The incidence of stroke, colorectal cancer, lung cancer and liver disease is greater in African Americans (more so in men than women).
- The prevalence of hypertension for blacks is 41%, while rates for whites and Mexican Americans stay around 26%.
- Black women are more than 1.5 times more likely than white women to be uninsured.
- Uninsured women in Ohio were significantly more likely than uninsured Ohio women to report no doctor or dental visit in the previous 12 months.
Major Accomplishments 2008
- Completed year-long program, “Youth Creating a Healthier Lifestyle II”; 127 young women ages 14-19 at Thurgood Marshall High School made measurable changes in their nutrition, exercise, and emotional wellness.
- Partnered with the Montgomery County Youth Collaborative to hold the “2008 Teen Leadership Summit” for 700 Montgomery County students; the goal was to educate them about topics that impact their communities and provide a gateway for graduating seniors to become acclimated to post-secondary education requirements.
- Presented “HIV and Women” at the Ohio Department of Health World AIDS Day in Columbus.
- Facilitated the development of “Hope in the Valley: A Violence Prevention Project” targeting violence in young men; this program was modeled after the “Youth Creating a Healthier Lifestyle II” program.
- Breast Cancer/Breast Health
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Stress Management
- Adolescent Health
- Healthy Relationships
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- 18 women diagnosed with Type II Diabetes
- 21 women diagnosed with High cholesterol levels
- 36 women diagnosed with Hypertension
- Breast lumps were found
- 220 women reported lower blood pressure levels
- 189 women reported lower cholesterol levels
- 71 women reported loss of 5 pounds
- 38 women reported loss of 10 pounds or more
- 271 women obtained HIV/AIDS screenings
- 353 women reported participating in a community exercise program
- Mahogany’s Child meets #7.9 of Healthy People 2010, which encourages hospitals to provide community disease prevention and health promotion activities addressing priority health needs