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© St. Petersburg Times
published September 24, 2002

Could good health be as basic as getting oneself to the doctor?

That's the premise of today's "Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day," a national campaign to motivate people, particularly African-Americans, to take control of their health.

The day is part of the Department of Health and Human Services' initiative to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in access to health care and in the incidence and severity of disease. African-Americans, compared with whites, are less likely to have a consistent relationship with a doctor and are 30 percent more likely to die of cancer, heart disease and other medical conditions.

"I take friends and relatives to the doctor. I get a large reward from it. It makes me feel good," says Mattie LeSueur of St. Petersburg. LeSueur is a member of Lakewood United Church of Christ. The national United Church of Christ is a sponsor.

Health and Human Services addresses the issue in an educational campaign called "Closing the Health Gap." The effort focuses on six areas of concern: diabetes, heart disease and stroke, cancer, infant mortality, immunizations and HIV/AIDS.

More information is available at

* * *

A "night school" for women's health that features classes on issues from menopause to mother-daughter talks about puberty begins Wednesday at Tampa General Hospital.

Sessions will feature physicians and researchers from the University of South Florida College of Medicine and the community. They will be at the hospital's MacInnes Auditorium in the second floor East Pavilion, 2 Columbia Drive on Davis Islands. Each will open with health screenings for cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure and more, available during registration from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., with speakers and Q&As scheduled from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

The classes are free, and parking passes will be issued. Participants should phone (813) 844-4977 to register or for more information.

Here is the class schedule:

  • Wednesday -- Menopause at Last! Good News to Enhance Your Health: Dr. Anna Parsons discusses natural and surgical menopause, the hormone replacement therapy debate and estrogen's role in disease prevention.
  • Oct. 2 -- Could it be Your Thyroid?: Dr. Anthony Morrison discusses the thyroid's role in everything from weight gain to bad hair.
  • Oct. 9 -- Osteoporosis -- What You Need to Know at Any Age: Dr. R. Maurice Bonilla says the silent disease in which bones become thin and fragile can be treated before a fracture signals its presence.
  • Oct. 16 -- What You Should Know About Vertebroplasty: Dr. Avery Evans describes the fractures in the vertebrae caused by osteoporosis and this nonsurgical procedure.
  • Oct. 23 -- Heart Health for Women: Cardiovascular disease is an equal opportunity killer, but lifestyle can help a woman beat the odds. Dr. Lisa Koche teaches a fitness program for the heart.
  • Oct. 30 -- Your Daughter is Maturing -- What the Two of You Can Expect: Parents and children will meet together and then split for discussion and Q&As about puberty with Dr. Catherine Lynch and her female physician partners. Recommended for parents and preteen girls.

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