All across the United States, people are banding together to create a healthier future. State by state, city by city, and street by street, visionary local leaders strive to solve the nation's most persistent health challenges. Each month, we’ll bring you an inside view of a different community-based health initiative — an honest look at the challenges communities face and the outstanding solutions they’ve found to address them.
Melissa Eagan is the host of the Healthy Communities News podcast, a seasoned audio producer and storyteller, Melissa was a journalist in Rhode Island before joining public radio, where she executive produced talk shows like New York & Company. During her career she has won AP Best Interview and James Beard awards, as well as a Peabody. Now she swims and hikes when she can.
Presented by CVS Health.
The Special Challenges of Women’s Heart Health
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women. In fact, 1 in 5 deaths among women is due to a cardiovascular issue. But many people don’t fully appreciate the particular risks women face when it comes to heart health. In this episode, our host Melissa Eagan speaks with Dr. Joanne Armstrong, Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of Women's Health and Genomics at CVS Health. Dr. Armstrong explains how heart disease looks different in women and how the reproductive journey can increase lifetime risk.
We also hear from Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Vice President and Chief Health Equity Officer at CVS Health. Dr. Khaldun discusses the need for the health care system to move from a one-size-fits-all approach to recognizing the unique needs not only of women but of particular groups of women. “A Black woman is actually more likely to have high blood pressure than a White woman,” she notes. Meanwhile, “Hispanic women are actually twice as likely to have diabetes, which we know contributes to heart disease.” CVS Health is working to improve women’s heart health right in the community through screenings at local CVS MinuteClinics. Minoka McPherson, a family nurse practitioner and a Senior Practice Manager for MinuteClinic, talks to Melissa about the services that they provide. In addition, she discusses how mental health conditions like depression and chronic stress can also be risk factors for heart disease.
Learn about hands-only CPR training from the American Heart Association
Schedule an appointment at a MinuteClinic
Project Power Tackles Childhood Diabetes with Fun
Reports from the CDC of a potential future surge in the number of young people with type 2 diabetes by 700%, and of type 1 diabetes by 65% over the next four decades is alarming. But there is cause for hope, thanks to an incredible initiative called Project Power that does empower kids in underserved and underfunded communities across the country on ways to prevent diabetes. Melissa speaks with Eboni Bright, a national project manager based in Washington State (and her 11-year-old daughter Kendall). As well as Dr. Rinku Sandesara, Medical Director of National Accounts at CVS Health, who explains diabetes for us.
Feeding Families in Denver -- The Power of Food
Fewer families in Denver, Colorado will be going to sleep hungry at night now! That’s thanks to amazing new Goodr pop-up grocery stores that opened recently to service the Denver Public School system’s Colfax Elementary and Place Bridge Academy. Bolstered by a partnership with sponsors Aetna and Amazon. And Melissa speaks with Jackie Bell, the Colfax Community Hub Program Manager, Michael Hancock, Mayor of the City of Denver, Jasmine Crowe-Houston, founder and CEO of Goodr, and Rochelle Sawyer, a school counselor at Place Bridge Academy, and 10-year-old Maddie
The Joy of Being Able to See
Some 350 people came to the Metropolitan Baptist Church’s facility in Newark, New Jersey over the course of a three-day vision clinic recently. They left, not only with a new prescription, but stylish glasses they had chosen – all for free! This was thanks to the OneSight EssilorLuxottica Foundation and Aetna, bolstered by members of CVS Health’s Workforce Innovation and Talent Center Team. Melissa was there, too – and she spoke with Christina Nicastro, the lead director of Aetna Vision, Dawn Yager, program manager with OneSight, and Valdemar Reyes, a senior regional manager of Target Optical. Not to mention three very happy attendees – who can see much more clearly now!
Introducing Dr. Khaldun, Our First Chief Health Equity Officer
Dr. Khaldun will lead the strategy to advance health equity for patients, members, providers, customers, and communities, having served as the Chief Medical Executive for the State of Michigan and Chief Deputy Director for Health in the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, where she was responsible for public health and aging programs, Medicaid and behavioral health. She led Michigan’s COVID-19 response and is credited for Michigan’s early identification of and strategy to address disparities in COVID-19 outcomes.
Suicide Prevention Goes “988”
Reaching out to help prevent suicide will be a lot simpler – starting July 16th – when anyone across the country can just dial “988” to receive lifesaving counsel 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And Melissa takes us inside the Didi Hirsch Suicide Prevention Center, the nation’s first, which helped make this happen. Cara McNulty, President of Behavioral Health and Mental Wellbeing for CVS Health Aetna, also discusses collaborating with Didi Hirsch as part of the company’s own initiative to reduce suicide attempts among members 20% by 2025. And we also
hear from Ann Taylor, who volunteers for Didi Hirsch, and is herself a suicide attempt survivor.