Lupus Awareness at the 2016 ESSENCE Music Festival

Lupus Awareness at the 2016 ESSENCE Music Festival
Directors of Health Promotion & Education LEAP reveals how lupus affects minorities and women of child-bearing age at nation’s premiere Rhythm & Blues event.
“With celebrities, such as Toni Braxton, Seal, and recently Selena Gomez, informing the public of their lupus diagnosis, the Directors of Health Promotion & Education (DHPE) thought it important to attend the Essence Music Festival to increase awareness about lupus,” stated DHPE Assistant Health Equity Director Thometta Cozart, MS, MPH, CPH, CHES. DHPE, a national public health association in Washington-DC, has recently been awarded funding by the national Office of Minority Health, US Department of Health and Human Services to increase lupus awareness nationwide, especially among African American women of childbearing age.

Attendants at the Essence Music Festival stocked up on life-saving Lupus Awareness information provided by the Louisiana-based Crescent City WIC Services.

Attendants at the Essence Music Festival stocked up on life-saving Lupus Awareness information provided by the Louisiana-based Crescent City WIC Services. Women of color are two to three times more likely to develop lupus than Caucasian females.

Mainly attended by African Americans, the Essence Music Festival is an optimal opportunity to share what could be life-saving information for women of color and their families.  Lupus is a chronic, systemic autoimmune disease with no cure that can damage any part of the body, including skin, joints and organs. Women of color are two to three times more likely to develop lupus than Caucasian females. The Essence Music Festival is documented as one of the nation’s largest events celebrating African American culture and music.  Nearly 400,000 individuals are expected to attend the three-day weekend event, which will feature entertainment mogul Oprah Winfrey for the first time on Saturday, July 2nd.
Louisiana-based Crescent City WIC Services, which is a mini-grantee of DHPE’s Lupus Program, is staffing the Lupus Health Education Booth in the Essence Music Festival Community Corner at Booth #310 in Exhibit Hall F from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Friday, July 1st through Sunday, July 3rd at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center located at 900 Convention Center Blvd in New Orleans.  The Crescent City WIC-PIC Experience at the Essence Music Festival is lupus education for Parents, Infants and Children (PIC) to inform women and their families about living with lupus in efforts to strengthen family resiliency.
“With DHPE’s project support, Crescent City WIC has been able to give information to hard-to-reach populations in New Orleans, which were previously, completely unaware of this mysterious disease,” said Mary Schultheis, Executive Director of Crescent City WIC. “The DHPE Lupus Program has been able to transform lives because information and knowledge are the first steps in surviving any chronic illness.”

DHPE Assistant Health Equity Director Thometta Cozart. (Photo, in courtesy, by Mary Schultheis, Executive Director, Crescent City WIC.)

DHPE Assistant Health Equity Director Thometta Cozart. (Photo, in courtesy, by Mary Schultheis, Executive Director, Crescent City WIC.)

“We hope women and their families will come learn the signs and symptoms of lupus at our booth, as well as pick up free materials to pass on to others. Lupus mostly affects minority women of childbearing age but children, teens and men may also develop lupus so it is very important for everyone to know facts about lupus,” added Cozart, who is also the program manager for the DHPE LEAP: Lupus Education and Awareness for Patients, Professionals and Providers Program.
One of the objectives of the DHPE LEAP Program is to create effective partnerships to increase exposure to lupus education, improve access to resources for patients and reduce lupus related health disparities. Next on the LEAP tour is the International Conference of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. in Orlando, FL held July 6-10, 2016.  Then it’s off to the National Black Nurses Association Annual Conference in Memphis, TN held August 2-7, 2016.  If your organization is interested in working with the DHPE LEAP Program, please contact Thometta Cozart at tcozart@dhpe.org and visit the program website at bit.ly/dhpelupus.
OTHER LUPUS EDUCATION RESOURCES:http://bit.ly/lupusCME
CME Online Trainings for Clinicians: http://bit.ly/lupusCME
CHES Online Trainings for Public Health Professionals: http://bit.ly/lupusCHES

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