Free Screenings Save Lives
Thanks to a little encouragement from his wife, Mr. Howard took advantage of a free prostate cancer screening at his church provided by Baptist Health. The screening may have saved his life.
Mr. Howard, 74, is one of thousands of people who receive free screenings and other health information each year through the Baptist Health Faith-Based Partnership Program, which annually holds nearly 200 events and health fairs. “Men won’t go through the exams and everything that’s necessary for prostate cancer diagnosis,” Mrs. Howard says. “But after the screening at the church, where we discovered he had a very high PSA (prostate specific antigen), my husband followed up with a specialist and received radiation therapy.”
Howard is one of many Jacksonville residents whose health is changing for good because of the faith-based partnership with Baptist Health. The partnership includes 44 religious organizations of many faiths throughout the First Coast, including Islamic, Jewish and Christian.
Many of Baptist Health’s faith-based partners are located in Jacksonville’s Health Zone 1, also known as the “urban core,” which has the city’s highest health care disparities in cancer, heart disease and diabetes. The partnership model is essential for reducing those disparities. For example, Mrs. Smith turned to her church, North Pearl Street Baptist, and its health ministry. In just 12 months, she reversed her high blood pressure, lowered her blood-insulin level from pre-diabetic to normal and lost 30 pounds.
Smith says, “It got me motivated, and it made me pay more attention to my weight. I may be 60 years old,” she says, “but now I feel like I have a young body.” Smith says she got her young body the old-fashioned way — walking more, and eating more vegetables and less fast food.