Links chapter to host Black Family Wellness Expo on Saturday

Mar. 17—An event this weekend hopes to tackle health disparities among Black communities by providing information and resources on wellness.

The local chapter of the Links, Inc., will host its first Black Family Wellness Expo from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Burroughs-Molette Elementary School, 1900 Lee St. in Brunswick.

The wellness expo will bring numerous local partners together to focus on health topics that disproportionately impact African American communities and affect people of all ages.

Topics that will be discussed include pre-natal and newborn health issues, maternal health, breast and prostate cancer awareness, kidney disease, heart health, blood donations, organ/tissue donor awareness and signup, dental health, mental health awareness, anti-bullying, aging and dementia.

"This will be our inaugural Black Family Wellness Expo," said Jackie Bryant, president of the local Links chapter. "Our national office decided to launch a nationwide Black Family Wellness Expo, and this will be done in all of our states, in all of our hopefully 299 chapters at the same time coast to coast."

African American communities have higher death rates from cancer and heart disease. They are also more likely to suffer from kidney disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, Bryant said.

"The health disparities in the Black communities lead to a lower quality of life and a shorter lifespan, so with this Black Family Wellness Expo we're hoping to share information from infants to seniors about just a better way to live a healthier and happier life," she said.

Links has partnered with nearly 30 vendors that will set up booths at the free event to provide resources and discuss these topics. The event will also feature panel discussions on kidney health and mental health.

Vendor booths will cover a wide range of topics, from caregiver wellness to Black hair care.

The event is meant to serve all ages, and its agenda includes a Zumba session. A "Kids' Corner" will also provide STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) activities.

Fire trucks, a blood donation mobile unit and the Southeast Georgia Health System's mobile health unit will be on hand during the event, as well as food trucks. A Bright Future Bright Smiles dentistry mobile unit will offer children lessons on dental hygiene and give away free toothbrushes and more.

"We're trying to have every aspect of the community to make this event successful," Bryant said.

The Links chapter has long worked to promote better health and wellness in Glynn County through campaigns to raise awareness about heart health, cancer and other topics. They're also leading a new Black K.A.R.E. (Kidney Awareness Resources and Education) campaign that began earlier this year.

"Knowledge is power, and we want to educate the community with forums such as this and give them an opportunity to talk to doctors and different people who are going through the same things they are going through," Bryant said.

The event and these ongoing awareness campaigns aim to reduce health disparities among the Black community, both locally and nationwide, Bryant said.

"I'm hoping that the community will come out and support us," Bryant said.