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Black Americans face greater health challenges than many other groups. Local advocates want to change that.

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The SpringMo Black Wellness Initiative workshop will be held at the Robert Plaster Free Enterprise Center, also known as the eFactory, at 405 S Jefferson Ave in Springfield.

The SpringMo Black Wellness Initiative workshop on Sept. 17 aims to influence health policy to better serve Springfield’s Black community.

Local advocates will hold the workshop from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the eFactory in downtown Springfield with a focus on health disparities in the Black community. Community leaders like Mayor Ken McClure and Dr. Nancy Yoon of the Springfield Greene-County Health Department will speak at the event.

The Center for Disease Control finds that Black Americans are twice as likely to die from heart disease as white Americans. The CDC also finds Black Americans are likelier to develop chronic diseases like cancer at younger ages than their white counterparts.

Melesha Bailey, spokesperson for the SpringMo Black Wellness Initiative, says the workshop will kick off a longer campaign to help Black residents of Springfield achieve the same health outcomes through access to healthcare and resources.

“We want to lessen the effects of them by talking about education, the resources that Springfield has, and to be able to decrease some of the effects of diabetes and high blood pressure and strokes and cancer that affect our community in such a profound way,” Bailey told KSMU.

Registration closed after the event reached its full capacity. Bailey says the initiative hopes to hold a larger two-day conference on Black health in Springfield next year.

Josh Conaway is a graduate of Missouri State University with a B.A. in Political Science and an M.A. in International Affairs. He works as a news reporter and announcer at KSMU. His favorite part of the job is exploring the rich diversity of the Ozarks and meeting people with interesting stories to share. He has a passion for history and running.