EVANSTON, ILL. – On the whole, Evanston residents live 82 years – several years longer than the national average – but that big picture number obscures major inequity. For example residents in Evanston’s historically Black Fifth Ward live 6.5 years less, on average then their neighbors in the 7th ward. This is a result of the many disparities that exist within the Evanston community.
“Health disparities affect BIPOC communities not just for individual reasons but for systemic ones,” said EPL Health and Wellness Librarian Irene Williams. “Our goal is to give people more tools to take charge of their own individual health while also highlighting the changes that need to be made on a broader, community level to change health outcomes.”
To that end, on Saturday, April 29, the Evanston Public Library will host Bridging the Gap: Disparities in Healthcare, a free health and wellness event focused on combating the persistent disparities in healthcare affecting BIPOC communities.
The event, produced by the Evanston Public Library and TBF Diagnostic, offers attendees an avenue to making more informed health and lifestyle choices while also addressing long-term community-based solutions to solving disparities.
Presentations at the event will focus on both physical and mental health topics that affect BIPOC communities at higher rates. Speakers include: City of Evanston Community Health Specialist Kristin Meyer, Director of TBF Diagnostic Alisha Yates-Whittaker, Regional Coordinator of the Illinois Secretary of State’s Life Goes On program Daru Smith, Director of PWP Health Kaaron Whiteside, and Alternative Wellness Therapist Kiara Norwood.
“It’s important to hear the voices of BIPOC health leaders who are working to tackle the problems of health disparities from every angle,” said EPL Family Engagement Coordinator Carmen Francellno. “The speakers we have lined up are not just here to inform but to inspire people to action.”
Attendees at Bridging the Gap will also get to learn more about organizations in Evanston that offer resources locally, including Skillz Physical Therapy – Evanston, YWCA Evanston/North Shore, Well Beings Chicago LLC, ACCESS Evanston Family Health Center, NorthShore University Health System, PWP Health, Howard Brown Health Center, TBF Diagnostic, Norwood Wellness and Northshore Acupuncture.
Bridging the Gap: Disparities in Healthcare will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 29, at the Main Library, 1703 Orrington Avenue, Evanston. The event is free but registration is recommended. Register now at epl.org/bridgingthegap.