If you show up and meet people where they are, they will come ready for an honest, raw conversation, and indeed they did at Corinthian Baptist Church on March 7, 2023, for a panel discussion on the “Black Family and Generational Health: Diabetes and Kidney Disease” hosted by LifeCenter Organ Donor Network (LifeCenter) in partnership with the Cincinnati Chapter of The Links and the Center for Closing the Health Gap.
Black Americans are disproportionately affected by diabetes and kidney disease, often leading to dialysis and the need for a life-saving kidney transplant. Almost 60% of people on the United States transplant list are people of color, and most of them are waiting for a kidney.
Featured panelists included Dr. Nana-Hawa Yayah Jones, diabetes specialist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center; Felicia Beckham, family nurse practitioner at UC College of Medicine; Donna Jones Baker, who received the gifts of a heart and kidney transplant in 2020 and is a member of the church; and Charles Farley, who is waiting for a kidney.
“I’m really hoping that people walk away with some lifestyle change that they would like to implement or some knowledge that they can give to another friend, community member, mom, dad to really raise awareness about how kidney disease affects our population and what changes they can do in their own house to make sure to prevent it,” Jones said.
The panel was hosted by Tropikana, a radio personality with the Wiz 101.1, who helped bridge the vulnerability gap between the panelists and the more than 150 people in attendance to listen, but just as importantly, engage in conversation. Panelists heard from audience members who shared their own experience struggling with controlling diabetes, navigating the health care system, and how to better understand their medical numbers.
Lincoln Ware of “The Lincoln Ware Show” was a member of the audience and encouraged everyone to walk, including through his own Lincoln Ware Walking Club.
“Exercise is definitely a key to all of this,” Ware said.
Farley certainly proved a vital part of the panel as an African American male to allow those in the audience to commiserate with him over the difficulty in expressing their feelings — and their pain — as African American males.
He makes sure to swim five days a week at the YMCA to better his health outcomes.
“It’s extremely important to me, and I’m hoping at least a couple of people — if we can save a couple of people, this panel, this night has been successful,” Baker said. “Take care of your body. It’s all you’ve got. Go to the doctor, at least annually. Ask questions.”
For more information about diabetes and kidney disease, visit lifepassiton.org.
LifeCenter is a Donate Life organization has served more than two million people throughout Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.
Since 1981, the organization has worked closely with local hospitals to facilitate organ and tissue donation, which has saved and healed countless lives in our community. You can make a difference just by saying “yes” and registering your decision to be an organ, eye and tissue donor at lifepassiton.org.