Anthem, National Urban League, City of Hope, Pfizer, Create Take Action for Health Program to Address Health Issues Facing African Americans

Indianapolis, Kansas City and Houston to serve as pilot program sites to evaluate health promotion interventions


Indianapolis, New York, Los Angeles – A recent study by the National Urban League Policy Institute found that health disparities cost the U.S. economy $82.2 billion in 2009, $60 billion in health care spending and $22.2 billion in lost productivity. Left alone, costs associated with chronic health conditions facing certain ethnic groups are expected to soar to $363 billion in 2050 as the U.S. population grows increasingly diverse.

With a common goal of eliminating health disparities in the African-American community, Anthem, Inc., the National Urban League, City of Hope and Pfizer, Inc., have teamed up to create Take Action for Health, a unique program focused on reducing some of the greatest health risks facing the African-American community today: breast cancer, heart disease and emotional well-being.

Take Action for Health aims to reduce the highest risk health disparities among African Americans:  to increase mammograms, blood pressure screenings and screenings for depression and anxiety-risk in an effort to catch these health conditions early while they are more treatable.  For example, African-American women have the lowest breast cancer survival rate of all ethnic and racial groups, according to the American Cancer Society, and one potential reason may be because African-American women are diagnosed with more advanced or later stage breast cancer.

National Urban League affiliates in Indianapolis, Kansas City and Houston will serve as the pilot sites for 300 participants to attend wellness programs and test a newly created interactive website that will encourage key health screenings, address barriers, provide information on low and no cost services, empower participants to track their screenings, and make it easy to share information with their health care teams, family and friends. Participants in the Take Action for Health pilot study will take two online surveys in June and September that will measure self-reported screening behaviors, satisfaction with the website, and level of empowerment regarding their health care.

“This pilot is a critically important extension of the National Urban League’s programming, advocacy and innovation around eliminating health disparities and addressing the social determinants of health in the communities we serve,” said Hal Smith, National Urban League Senior Vice President for Education, Youth and Health. “Partners such as City of Hope, Pfizer and Anthem match our commitment to these goals and to meaningfully improve the health and wellness of vulnerable populations and advancing impactful community health as we develop and refine leading-edge approaches, supports and content.”