MHIF and iHEAL Partner for Heart to Heart Conversations

March 1, 2021

As part of our work in the Nolan Family Center for Cardiovascular Health to reduce disparities in the diagnosis and treatment of heart and vascular disease, the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation® (MHIF) and Insight News partnered with Insight Health Equity Action Lab (iHEAL) to offer a series of five Heart to Heart Conversations. With a goal of informing and inspiring others, the series featured guest speakers from the North Minneapolis community who shared their stories of thriving in spite of living with heart disease and were joined by MHIF research cardiologists.

Health disparities in the African American community are particularly stark when it comes to heart disease. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, African-American adults aged 35-64 die from heart disease at approximately two times the rate of whites of the same age in Minnesota.

Dr. Courtney Jordan Baechler, who led the conversations and is director of emerging science centers for MHIF, said, “In Minnesota, we have the best cardiovascular outcomes in the entire country. And we have since 1999. But when you start looking deeper, we do not see the same outcomes for everyone. And that’s especially true for our African American population. So we really want to encourage awareness about heart disease and the risk factors for it. Ultimately, our goal is to help improve the health of residents of North Minneapolis, while reducing the documented disparities in the diagnosis and treatment of heart and vascular disease for minority populations.”

Moving forward, the MHIF/iHEAL partnership plans to seek ongoing funding and additional like-minded partners that are interested in health equity issues.

iHEAL is an action-oriented think tank working in partnership with communities and organizations to develop and implement sustainable and measurable strategies that advance health equity. It was started by Insight News, which has had a long commitment to addressing health disparities in Minnesota’s African American communities and launched the Insight2Health Fitness Challenge.

Watch the recordings for the conversations:

Conversation #1 (aired Dec. 10, 2020): Dr. Courtney Jordan Baechler; Dr. Mosi Bennett; Al McFarlane, publisher and founder of Insight News; and Stella Whitney West, CEO of North Point Health and Wellness Center introduce the iHEAL partnership and discuss the opportunity the partnership presents and the needs of the community. Watch here.

Conversation #2 (aired Dec. 17, 2020): Al McFarlane and his daughter Batala McFarlane join Dr. Courtney Jordan Baechler and Dr. Mosi Bennett to share Al’s heart disease experience and how it has impacted his family and his lifestyle behaviors. Watch here.

Conversation #3 (aired Jan. 14, 2021): Loralean Jordan talks with Dr. Courtney Jordan Baechler and Dr. Mosi Bennett about living with a diagnosis of aortic aneurysm and heart murmur. Watch here.

Conversation #4 (aired Jan. 21, 2021): Schevita Persaud, PhD., talks with Dr. Courtney Jordan Baechler about her and her mother’s experience participating in the Insight2Health Fitness Challenge. Dr. Persaud is a school psychologist with the Minneapolis Public Schools who recognized the need to create a health plan for herself and her mother while supporting her mother who has health issues such as type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and a seizure disorder. Watch here.

Conversation #5 (aired Jan. 28, 2021): Dr. Courtney Jordan Baechler talks with two mothers, Clare Rodrigues-Henderson and Dominique Wells, about their experiences with pre-eclampsia (a serious hypertensive disorder) during their pregnancies. Watch here.

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