What began as a simple class project for LaPrincess Brewer in Baltimore, Maryland 10 years ago has now flourished into a multi-city movement intersecting faith and heart health awareness in the Black community.
Dr. Brewer, a cardiologist at Mayo Clinic, launched FAITH! — an acronym for Fostering African American Improvement in Total Health — as a fun and engaging way to address heart disease, the number one killer of African Americans. As part of the program’s 10th anniversary, Dr. Brewer will host a FAITH! Celebration and three-mile “Walk by FAITH!” community outing in North Minneapolis on Saturday, June 23.
Hosted in partnership with the YMCA and Shiloh Temple International Ministries, the celebration will also include a Men’s Health Symposium led by Shiloh Temple’s Kelton Kent, free lunch, health vendors, giveaways and an awards ceremony honoring participants.
“The community really inspired me to do what I do,” said Dr. Brewer. “They wanted it, they loved it and were really excited about improving their own health.”
Dr. Brewer first brought the program to Minnesota in 2013 during her cardiology fellowship at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. She now serves as a senior associate consultant and assistant professor in the clinic’s department of cardiovascular medicine.
Since launching, participants have seen tangible outcomes, including improved health and lifestyle changes. “We improved their overall cardiovascular health,” she said. “We reduced blood pressure and also improved diet, in terms of eating increased fruits and vegetables. Our participants were more physically active – [meaning] more minutes per day and steps per day in terms of physical activity.”
She added, it has also “improved social determinants” of health, including healthy lifestyle changes that have resulted in “less barriers to eating a healthy diet and a sense of more social support.”
For Dr. Brewer, helping create healthier communities has been the best outcome. “To help people live longer and fulfilling lives through faith has truly been rewarding,” she said. “And to be able to follow my passion of serving others through community health and research has been a blessing.”
FAITH! Celebration and Walk by FAITH! takes place from 9 am to 1 pm on June 23 at the Cora McCorvey YMCA, 1015 4th Avenue North in Minneapolis.
For more information, call 507- 255-1622.