Building a Healthier B’klyn

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams says he’s committed to building a healthier Brooklyn.

“My goal is how to build a healthy Brooklynite,” Adams told the Fifth Annual Caribbean Health Summit on Jun. 5, organized by the Brooklyn-based community group, APC (Action, Performance, Commitment) Community Services, Inc., in conjunction with Kings County Hospital Center (KCHC), Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center (KJMC) and the American Heart Association.

“Part of this healthcare must move away from the current healthcare system,” added Adams at the day-long event at KCHC’s auditorium. “Here, we must go to another level in America.

“How do we become more spiritually-grounded?” he asked rhetorically. “I don’t want to build another building; I want to build people.”

Adams said his office was expected to commence mediation workshops this week, stating that he is fully committed to making Brooklyn residents more healthy.

According to summit participants, health care statistics show that Caribbean populations living in Brooklyn suffer disproportionately from a variety of health care concerns, including diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Stating that health care literature indicates that medical providers need to be trained to provide comprehensive, culturally-competent care to Caribbean and other minority patients in reducing health disparities, organizers said that the summit addressed practice gaps for medical practitioners who provide care to Caribbean and other populations.

The conference focused particularly on diabetes, heart disease and stroke, with presentations from, among others, Drs. Michelle Johnson, assistant chief of cardiology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Nao-Solo Tetty, cardiovascular health education and community outreach coordinator, New York Presbyterian Hospital; Ronald Pedalino, director of cardiology at KCHC; Kurt Kodroff, chair, Department of Medicine, KJMC; Saka Kazeem, chief of endocrinology, KJMC; and Janice Emanuel-Bunn, APC Community Services, Inc. president.

Suzette Williams, Family Nurse Practitioner at KCHC, Dr. Mauvareen Beverly, deputy executive director, case management, KCHC, and Dr. Michael Biglow, of KJMC, also presented on diabetes, cardiovascular programs and healthcare in general. KCH executive director, Ernest Baptiste, welcomed participants.

Experts urged attendees to practice health living by eating healthy and exercising regularly.

“Follow a meal plan, self-monitor and exercise,” Williams urged diabetic patients. “Self-monitoring glucose is very important.”

The experts said diabetes is a condition in which sugar levels are high, adding that, when one has diabetes, one’s pancreas makes little or no insulin; and that the body prevents the insulin that one makes from working right.

As a result, sugar can’t get into one’s cells; so it stays in the blood, causing the blood sugar to get too high. This condition is called hyperglycemia.

Kelvin Smith, 51, author of “The Unlikely Candidate” and heart transplant patient, testified about complications from heart disease.

“I was blessed by an angel,” he said. “Heart failure did not choose me. I was chosen by heart failure.”

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