By Frank Robinson, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs Manager, Union Bank; American Heart Association Power To End Stroke Chairman
At Union Bank, we are committed to responsible banking and believe that total wellness includes physical and fiscal fitness. As part of a commitment to the health and wellness of our employees and community, Union Bank has been a supporter of the American Heart Association (AHA) in its effort to fight cardiovascular disease and stroke for more than twenty years.
Over the last five years, Union Bank and its employees have helped raise nearly $2.5 million in support of the AHA’s research, education, and prevention programs. We’ve worked with the AHA and its Health Equity team to host a series of Health and Wellness Expos at branches in ethnically diverse communities throughout Southern California.
The goal of the expos is to bring the “No Wealth Without Your Health” message to underserved communities by providing heart health education, emphasizing its connection to one’s financial fitness. The expos provide health screenings and consultations, including blood pressure checks and cholesterol screenings; BMI, glucose, and hemoglobin screenings; and financial wellness check-ups.
These screenings are vital to the health of ethnic communities. Heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases are major causes of death among African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics, yet the level of awareness remains low.
The statistics are sobering:
• People of color are 1.5 times more likely to die from heart disease.
• People of color are 1.8 times more likely to have a fatal stroke.
• Heart disease and stroke are the number one and number four causes of death for African Americans.
• Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death among Latinos.
In 2012, our efforts resulted in approximately 1,600 people receiving more than 1,500 free health screenings.
Heart health education materials that outline the AHA’s Life Simple 7 (Get Active, Cholesterol Control, Eat Better, Manage Blood Pressure, Lose Weight, Reduce Blood Sugar and Stop Smoking) are available at our branches. Materials are created in-language for each targeted group. Together, Union Bank and the AHA continue to educate diverse communities about how to live healthier, improving both physical and fiscal fitness.