The nursing profession has always been an advocate for providing community assessment, education, and health screenings to the public to promote healthier communities. Never has health promotion been more important than now. Healthy People 2020 are leading the charge by providing goals and objectives to improve the health for all Americans. One of their goals is to “achieve health equity, eliminate disparities, and improve the health of all groups.”1 This is a very important goal for the African American population in particular. Two-thirds of all deaths in the United States are caused by five major chronic diseases: cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic lower respiratory disease, diabetes, and stroke.2 And African Americans have the highest mortality rates for three of them.

Research has found that African Americans have higher rates of mortality and morbidity from cardiovascular disease (CVD) than their Caucasian counterparts. In 2008, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) found CVD accounted for 25% of all deaths in the United States, and CVD was the number one cause of mortality for African Americans.Within the African American group, women have a higher mortality rate for CVD than males as well as Caucasian females. African American women have a 35% higher mortality rate for CVD compared to Caucasian women, whereas African American males have only a 7% higher mortality rate compared to Caucasian men.4


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