The 10th Annual Healthy Churches 2030 Conference, a four-day, virtual event held from November 13-16, 2023 and presented by The Balm In Gilead, Inc., will provide information and resources targeting prevalent health conditions that are present in Black communities. The conference provides a unique setting for faith and public health representatives to work together toward achieving solutions that are aimed at reversing and eliminating health disparities.
“The Balm In Gilead, Inc. is a non-profit, national organization that develops educational and training programs designed to help African American faith communities become community hubs for health awareness, education and support. The organization recently celebrated 35 years of service,” said Dr. Pernessa C. Seele, founder and CEO of The Balm In Gilead, Inc.
Seele added, “This year’s Healthy Churches 2030 Conference theme is: “Struggle! Patience! Faith! The Journey of the Black Health Agenda.” The theme represents the African American healthcare experience both individually and as a community. We believe that as health disparities hinder Black Americans’ access to healthcare and result in worse health outcomes for our families and communities, Black institutions, along with all who care about health equity, face increased responsibility— and opportunity – to be part of the solution.”
According to Seele’s bio, “Dr. Seele is known for her work in forging public health and faith-based partnerships for engaging individuals in health promotion and disease prevention interventions.”
Seele, who is a scheduled conference speaker, earned her bachelor of science degree and master of science from Clark Atlanta University, then later earned a Doctor of Humane Letters from the College of New Rochelle, located in New York.
Another speaker, Bishop Horace E. Smith, is an attending physician specializing in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago (formerly Children’s Memorial Hospital) and pastor of the Apostolic Faith Church in Chicago.
Cookie Johnson— an entrepreneur, author and philanthropist who raises awareness about HIV/AIDS, advocates for the LGBTQIA+ community and encourages women spiritually and physically— will speak during the event. Cookie is married to businessman and former professional basketball player, Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
Information provided on The Healthy Churches 2030 Conference’s website revealed that the conference’s goal is to equip churches and congregational health ministries to become community hubs for health awareness, treatment and support to help reverse and eliminate the impact of health disparities in Black communities.
“Faith communities are the oldest, most important, and most ubiquitous institutions that Black people own, lead and fund,” said Seele. “Their potential and influence to lessen the impact of systemic disparities and improve the health status of African Americans is unmatched.”
The impactful, online conference will feature more than 80 speakers and presenters, 30 exhibitors and over 25 interactive sessions. Conference topics include heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, maternal health, mental health, asthma, the cost of caregiving and Black health advocacy. Expert presentations and educational sessions for church and community members and leaders, as well as public health and medical professionals will be provided.
Faith leaders, public health professionals, medical professionals, volunteers, community leaders, church members and community activists are encouraged to attend. Resources and training will be provided for attendees from all over the world who are passionate about the health and wellness of African American communities. Popular gospel artists will also perform.
Seele, a longtime public health activist, also said that “The Balm In Gilead, Inc. is driven by the mission to respond to systemic racial health disparities that have significant negative impact on Black congregations, families, and communities.”
“Most health disparities are rooted in generations of discrimination. Today, we see their impact in the fact that African Americans suffer from higher rates, and inadequate treatment for, many conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease,” Seele said. “The Balm has evolved over the years by remaining current with the latest trends in faith communities and in public health. Our flagship programs include The Healthy Churches 2030 Conference, The Healthy Churches 2030 Roadmap Tour, The Southeast Diabetes Faith Initiative and The National Brain Health Center for African Americans.”
Seele added, “These programs deliver the latest evidence-based health knowledge using principles of cultural competence to a broad spectrum of African Americans.” Visit https://www.hc2030.org/en/agenda-page to view a schedule at a glance. The website to register for The 10th Annual Healthy Churches 2030 Conference is https://hc2030.org. Tickets are only $35 when registering with promo code Faith23. The registration deadline is Tuesday, November 7, 2023 at midnight (EST).