The Pasadena Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. in partnership with the City of Pasadena recently hosted the 10th Annual Health Summit at Jackie Robinson Community Center. This event started 10 years ago to provide free tests, screenings and information to under-served & under-insured persons in Pasadena/Altadena and surrounding areas. At that time, LA County had an uninsured rate of over 25%. During the life of this program, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was introduced and truly adopted by California through Covered California. A recent report that was released by the LA County Department of Public Health shows that the uninsured rate for women in LA County has decreased from 26% in 2011 to 10% as of 2015.
This is truly a success story that we also see played out through the Health Summit that served over 450 people at its peak and has now fallen to around 200 people. At the 10th Annual Health Summit, the impact that this event has had on the community was highlighted in a commendation from Senator Anthony Portantino where he acknowledged that this event has supported the healthcare needs of the most vulnerable members of our community. The free testings, screenings and information have ensured good health for members of our community and made it possible for them to pursue their dreams and aspirations.
While attendance at this year’s event was lighter, those that came enjoyed a variety of services. Whitney Harrison from Young & Healthy spoke on “The Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medicaid & the Impact on K-12 Students.” She provided up-to-date information that truly highlighted the benefits that California citizens have received because the State took a very pro-active approach to the ACA as they established our local healthcare exchange, Covered California. She also highlighted concerns that may continue to try to harm ACA despite the Graham-Cassidy Bill failing to pass the Senate in September.
We need to be vigilant and we need to push for reform to ﬁ x the things that can be improved with ACA. At this time, there is still a war in Washington DC against ACA that will cause it to die a natural death if we are not vigilant. Some of these items are the 90% cut in the marketing budget that is being pushed by the Trump Administration, the lack of enforcement of the individual mandate that is being pushed by the Trump Administration and more. The bottom line is that the battle is not over so we need to continue to support our elected ofﬁcials to ﬁx the things that need to be improved and help to swing the vote in areas like Lancaster where the House representative voted to repeal ACA.
A children’s shoe distribution to attendees was a new addition to year’s event. Unfortunately, too many children from economically disadvantaged homes go to school with shoes that don’t ﬁ t or are falling apart. This has a signiﬁcant impact on their self-esteem and their ability to succeed in school. The simple act of sending a child to school with new shoes that ﬁ t improves their self-esteem, encourages them to participate in activities and sports at school, decreases bullying of the child and improves attendance. Every child should have shoes that ﬁt. In order to help achieve this goal, 36 pairs of shoes were given away during the 10th Annual Health Summit.
Staying true to our roots, FREE tests, and screenings were also available. Blood pressure checks, glucose screenings, ﬂu shots, HIV testing, eye exams for children, respiratory screenings and dental screenings were available. Getting these basic areas screened is crucial to physical health. They help you to know your status so you can then start to impact it. This event started with these screenings at the heart and it has continued to make sure that these tests and screenings were available to all that attended.
Upscale Magazine & Local Talent blessed those in attendance with the opportunity to work with an experienced live stylist, get makeovers and nail artistry demos for free. Many other attendees beneﬁted from free haircuts.
The sponsors for this event were The Pasadena Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the City of Pasadena, the Pasadena/Altadena Ivy Foundation, City of Hope, the Pasadena Journal, Friends of the Pasadena/Altadena Ivy Foundation, First AME Church Pasadena and D’Veal Family & Youth Services. Partners that supported this event are the Pasadena Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. and ChapCare. The Pasadena Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. thanks everyone for your support of this event over the last 10 years.