Reverend Charles Butler began partnering with the Harlem Health Promotion Center’s Project SHARE in April 2011 by inviting SHARE to give blood pressure screenings at several health events for his congregants at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church where he serves as Assistant Pastor and Youth Minister.
How is Project SHARE helping his congregants? At a recent blood pressure screening there during a monthly food distribution event, more than thirty people were screened and half of them had high blood pressure. “These screenings are evidence that there are health issues in the community,” says Reverend Butler. He points out the importance of being a good steward of our body. “Taking care of your health can help people prevent and avoid conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.”
Project SHARE not only does screening, but offers community members the chance to enroll in a study looking at the best ways to treat high blood pressure. If community members have blood pressure that is 130/80 and meet other requirements, they will get linkages to care and in some cases, one-on-one wellness counseling with a community health worker. Project SHARE aims to go where people are and help them realize the importance of knowing whether they have high blood pressure, and if they do, learn how to treat it. For instance, this screening event also had other benefits--for people who are going through difficult financial times, health is often a low priority. But this particular event allowed residents to check their blood pressure while waiting for food and learn how important it is to know what your blood pressure is.
Reverend Butler looks forward to upcoming Project SHARE blood pressure screenings at his church as he believes that if people know their “numbers” it will help them want to get healthy. “People have to have proof that they need to change their habits,” he says.