By Libby Smith

DENVER (CBS4) – The Center for African American Health has been hosting the Black Health Fair for 19 years. It offers health screenings and wellness information to the Black community.

“We were established in 1997 really to address health disparities that had been going on for generations,” said Deidre Johnson, CEO & Executive Director of the Center for African American Health.

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(credit Center for African American Health)

The Black Heath Fair is a beloved event in the community, and not only promotes health and wellness, but celebrates the culture as well.  This year, the pandemic is pushing the Summit online, but it’s still going to feature the same important information.

“So really those continuous themes of how to stay as healthy as possible, how to keep your family healthy, how to work to advocate to change certain things happening in your community,” Johnson explained.

“We’ve had health inequities and health disparities since Africans touched foot on the shores here,” said Dr. Terri Richardson, an internal physician with Kaiser Permanente and the keynote speaker for the Collaborative Black Health Summit.

Dr. Terri Richardson (credit CBS)

COVID is the latest version of disparities that the Black community is dealing with. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that African Americans have died at 1.4 times the rate of white people. The CDC lists some of the contributing factors are discrimination in healthcare, lack of access to healthcare, jobs as essential workers, and crowded housing.

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“It just is highlighting what has been going on for decades,” Richardson told CBS4.

While Black people get the virus in high rates, they are getting the vaccination at a fraction of the rate of white people. Richardson is going to be addressing those disparities in her speech.

“We’ll be telling you what’s going on in Denver as an example. It’s quite interesting like who is getting this vaccine and who’s not. Who’s at the front of the bus, and who’s at the back of the bus,” she said.

LINK: Register for the Collaborative Black Health Summit

While the community can’t gather together this year, The Center for African American Health is making sure the connection is not broken.

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The Collaborative Black Health Summit runs 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Friday, February 26th, and 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 27th. It’s free and open to the public.

Libby Smith