PROFESSIONALS LENDING A HAND—Seated, from left: Connie Parker and Candi Castleberry-Singleton with Gregory L. Mundy, ED, and Winifred Torbert, both standing, at the 2014 Health and Job Fair hosted by the Pittsburgh NAACP and UPMC, June 7, at Petra International Ministries. (Photo by Rossano P. Stewart)

Health and employment are among a few of the critical issues in Black America. In America, Blacks face the most health disparities and have the highest rate of unemployment.

In an effort to take action in addressing the health and employment issues of the community, and to produce a thriving community by building a healthier one, the Pittsburgh Unit of the NAACP, in conjunction with the UPMC Center for Engagement and Inclusion, held its 2014 Health and Job Fair, June 7, at Petra International Ministries, located on East Gate Drive, in East Hills.

“Health and employment are my number one issue. If you don’t have good health then what do you have?” said Pittsburgh NAACP President Connie Parker. “Health comes in different forms. And you have to feel good to be good. We (as a community) meet a lot, but now it’s time for action.”

Parker said she was pleased at the overall turnout for the event. She estimates that there were more than 200 individuals in attendance.

The health portion of the fair included health screenings such as blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and more; healthy eating cooking demonstrations; and what foods to eat, along with doctors on hand to answer questions. There were also experts on hand to address behavioral health, cancer services, living wills and advanced directives, stress and depression, senior living and more.


HEALTHY LIVING—Melvin Pollard gets his blood pressure checked by Ebony Edwards during the NAACP and UPMC Health and Job Fair. (Photo by Rossano P. Stewart)

“I think it’s really important for UPMC, as the largest health care institution in the area, to work collaboratively with organizations like the NAACP to help increase awareness about health issues, health literacy and how to access health care in a setting that’s comfortable for community members,” said Candi Castleberry-Singleton, chief Inclusion and Diversity officer of UPMC. “We are grateful for our partnership with NAACP and look forward to future events together.”

While a great deal of the fair dealt with health, there were representatives from three employers, such as UPMC, UPS and LegalShield, on hand, according to Parker.

Parker said that although there has been much attention paid to the battle between UPMC and Highmark, she is not concerning herself with that, and that “I put my community before the issues.”

Due to the importance of health care and employment in the Black community, Parker said the Pittsburgh NAACP does plan to hold the fair again next year.

She added, “Because having just one person get  checked could save a life.”



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