The Balm In Gilead Inc., the organization where faith and public health connect, kicked off its Annual Healthy Churches 2030 National Conference (HC2030) on November 16, 2020. With record-breaking registrations, this four-day virtual event welcomed over 2,200 participants. “The Black Health Agenda for the New Decade: The Intersection of Health, Religion, Race, and Politics,” the theme for this year’s conference, embodies the immediate need to confront health disparities and create prevention models within African American communities.

“As we chant ‘Black Lives Matter’ we must know these words include our commitment to fight for health equity, says Dr. Pernessa C. Seele, Founder and CEO of The Balm In Gilead, Inc. “Through the development and strengthening of congregational health ministries, we can address high rates of health disparities, miss-information regarding disease management and participation in clinical studies.

This week at its virtual conference, The Balm In Gilead is launching its Black Health Agenda for the New Decade Roadmap 2030, a 10-year plan focused on faith-based approaches to public health issues that support integrating cultural and science-based strategies within congregations throughout urban and rural communities.

Black Americans are more likely to die from COVID-19 than any other race in the US. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the vital importance of bringing faith and public health leaders together to find solutions to the underlying dangers of systemic racism in health care as well as new approaches to changing health outcomes within local communities.

Conference-goers will learn engagement strategies and evidence-based activities that encourage health promotion, disease management, clinical research participation, and overall well-being. Conference plenaries and symposiums are designed to build both organizational and individual capacity to provide impactful disease awareness information and services, which are culturally competent in its delivery.

“The Balm In Gilead is committed to the development of sustainable congregational health ministries,” states Bishop Horace E. Smith, MD, Conference Chair and Senior Pastor, Apostolic Faith in Chicago, IL. “This annual conference provides conference attendees with key learnings, networking, development opportunities, and models of effective congregational-based health ministries, which is necessary for our future in the 21st century”.

The Healthy Churches 2030 National Conference speaker roster includes nationally renowned faith and public health leaders; such as leader in biopharmaceuticals Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall; Mt. Ennon Baptist Church senior pastor Rev. Dr. Delman L. Coates; mental health advocate Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child; Mayo Clinic College of Medicine professor Dr. LaPrincess C. Brewer, MPH; Grammy award-winning gospel artist Fred Hammond; and many more.

This year’s Healthy Churches 2030 National Conference features presentations from elite sponsors. Diamond sponsors AARP, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc., Amgen Inc., Biogen Inc., Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., Silver sponsors Astellas Pharma Inc., Pfizer Rare Disease, Roche, and Bronze sponsor Mayo Clinic. To learn more about the conference, visit healthychurches2030.org.

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