DALLAS, May 22, 2020 — Regina Benjamin, M.D., MBA, 18th U.S. surgeon general and member of the American Heart Association’s National Board of Directors joins the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) Coronavirus Pandemic Task Force providing expertise on the coronavirus and it’s disproportionate effect on African American communities.

The NNPA, the trade association of African American-owned newspapers and media companies, established the Coronavirus Pandemic Task Force to provide timely and up-to-date Coronavirus information and resources for the African American community.

“I am honored to collaborate with the NNPA on behalf of the American Heart Association to share facts and insights to support the health news and resources shared directly with African American communities,” said Benjamin, who is also founder and CEO of BayouClinic/Gulf States Health Policy Center in LaBatre, Alabama.

This pandemic is highlighting what health experts have known for years. Lack of access to health care, healthy food education and low income are the basis of health disparities in poor underserved communities. In addition to social factors, health factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and stroke tend to plague underserved communities at high rates making them more susceptible to severe complications from the coronavirus. Also, these populations can be at increased risk for contracting the coronavirus as they often hold jobs as essential workers, which limits their ability to practice social distancing.

“We are grateful that Dr. Benjamin has joined the Coronavirus Pandemic Task Force, which is made up of top infectious disease doctors, medical and health experts from various organizations and public officials. As a trusted source in African American communities and other communities of color, it is important that we are at the helm with updates and information from reliable top officials and organizations about how the coronavirus is impacting communities of color across the nation,” said Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., Ph.D., president and CEO, NNPA.

The task force distributes periodic national coronavirus alerts to all in the NNPA database, and establishes daily coordination between the NNPA and the National Medical Association (NMA), National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) and medical schools at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to collaborate on best practices and other vital information to assist black America throughout the pandemic.

Daily briefings of the pandemic and original and pertinent content about the coronavirus would be published at BlackPressUSA.com.  For more information about the coronavirus from the American Heart Association, visit Heart.org

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookTwitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.   

About the National Newspaper Publishers’ Association

The NNPA is the national trade association for 225 African American owned newspapers and media organizations in 40 states, including the District of Columbia. The NNPA in 2020 is celebrating its 80th anniversary, and 193 years of the Black Press and its first publication of the Freedom’s Journal in 1827. Today, concluded by a Nielsen study, Black-owned newspapers are the most trusted source of news and information for 50 million African Americans. The NNPA newswire and BlackPressUSA.com, daily curates African American news, entertainment, sports, education and public policy matters in all the U.S. major media markets.

For Media Inquiries:

American Heart Association

Toiya Honore, toiya.honore@heart.org, 214-706-1456

National Newspaper Publishers’ Association

Sheila Thorne, sthornemhmg@outlook.com, 201-898-4407

For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org