By: Diane Bernard, Public News Service
ARLINGTON, Va. — A unique competition is being held this week for healthcare entrepreneurs with ideas for getting underserved communities better health solutions. This Thursday, October 17, nine business leaders will compete for thousands of dollars of EmPOWERED To Serve Business Accelerator grants from the American Heart Association.
One competitor, Andrew Suggs, is CEO of the Baltimore company Live Chair. They developed and support an app that aims to improve the health of African-American men by training their trusted barbers to check clients for common ailments.
“Initially, Live Chair is targeting hypertension, but in the future, we plan to tackle other chronic diseases like diabetes, CVD or COPD,” Suggs said. “Our mission is to transform the barbershop into the hub of health for black men.”
The event will begin at 6:30 Thursday evening at the National Museum of African American Culture and History in Washington, D.C. Anyone can view the competition online at empoweredtoserve.org, and can participate by voting for their fan favorite.
Other businesses in the competition include a company making a wearable device to help people manage their diabetes and a grocery store located within a subsidized housing complex – the first in the nation. Rhonda Ford-Chatmon, vice president of volunteers with the American Heart Association, said the goal is to promote innovators developing wellness programs that tackle challenging problems in low-income neighborhoods.
“What we’ve seen is the people in the communities know what they need to do to solve their issues. We just need to help them get the resources they need to do so,” Ford-Chatmon said.
Studies show health is a major concern in many low-income neighborhoods that lack easy access to health care and wellness programs. According to a 2015 Urban Institute report, low-income adults in the U.S. have higher rates of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other chronic disorders than wealthier Americans.
The Southern Maryland Chronicle is a local, small business entrusted to provide factual, unbiased reporting to the Southern Maryland Community. While we look to local businesses for advertising, we hope to keep that cost as low as possible in order to attract even the smallest of local businesses and help them get out to the public. We must also be able to pay employees(part-time and full-time), along with equipment, and website related things. We never want to make the Chronicle a “pay-wall” style news site.
To that end, we are looking to the community to offer donations. Whether it’s a one-time donation or you set up a reoccurring monthly donation. It is all appreciated. All donations at this time will be going to furthering the Chronicle through hiring individuals that have the same goals of providing fair, and unbiased news to the community. For now, donations will be going to a business PayPal account I have set-up for the Southern Maryland Chronicle, KDC Designs. All business transactions currently occur within this PayPal account. If you have any questions regarding this you can email me at email@example.com
Thank you for all of your support and I hope to continue bringing Southern Maryland the best news possible for a very long time. — David M. Higgins II