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Celebrating Black Health Heroes Fighting Flu

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Posted on February 17, 2023
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Keith C. Ferdinand, MD
This flu season, the National Forum for Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention hosted the Million Hearts® Stakeholders Flu Vaccination Campaign. This campaign supported flu education, offering resources to educate communities on the importance of receiving an annual flu vaccine. Part of the resources included PSAs from their spokespeople. One of the spokespeople included Keith C. Ferdinand, MD, FACC, FAHA, FNLA. He is a Professor of Medicine and Gerald S. Benson Chair in Preventive Cardiology at the Tulane School of Medicine. He is heavily involved in many national organizations concerned with public health, including the Association of Black Cardiologists, the American Society of Hypertension, and the Healthy Heart Community Prevention Program.

In his PSA, Dr. Ferdinand said that he received his flu shot. The flu shot is safe, and it reduces the risk of serious illness. People with heart disease or who have suffered a stroke are at increased risk of flu complications.

Mayor Jeffrey J. Mims, Jr.
Another advocate for flu prevention shared by the National Forum is Dayton, Ohio, Mayor Jeffrey Mims. In the PSA he did recently, Mayor Mims stressed that it is not too late to receive your flu vaccine. He discussed how dangerous flu can be, and asked Americans to join him in getting vaccinated.

Mayor Mims is a father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, a Dayton Top Ten African American Male, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., member, and an Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority “Strength and Perseverance” awardee, among many other accolades.

Rev. Dr. Terris King
During the 2020-2021 flu season, Rev. Dr. Terris King, pastor of Liberty Grace Church of God, partnered with the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC) at Johns Hopkins University to create an environment where congregants felt comfortable asking questions about vaccines. The goal for this was to gain essential information to make informed decisions about whether or not they wanted to get a vaccine. Rev. Dr. King and the IVAC’s work helped promote flu vaccination throughout the city of Baltimore.

According to the CDC article, vaccination is important for everyone, but especially for people from racial and ethnic minority groups, who are often less likely to be vaccinated and more likely to be hospitalized. This includes non-Hispanic Black, non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native, and Hispanic or Latino people.

Dr. Tiffany Ofili Porter
Dr. Porter is a pharmacist, digital content creator and sports broadcaster. She is a former world-class Olympic hurdler and ran track professionally for 12 years. She is also a mother, expecting her second child this year! Dr. Porter worked on the Families Fighting Flu influencer campaign and she has seen the devastating effects of the flu first-hand. She shared several Instagram stories about how even young and healthy people can have serious complications from the flu and how easy it is to get your flu vaccine.

Receiving a flu vaccine can be as simple as heading into your local pharmacy and getting it while you are grocery shopping

Thank you to these health heroes for being fighters against the flu! We want to recognize you this month and all year long for your efforts.

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