High blood pressure is often called “the silent killer,” with good reason. Nearly half of the U.S. population over age 20 has high blood pressure, but many do not even realize they have it. In most cases, there are no obvious symptoms of high blood pressure until a health crisis occurs, like a heart attack or stroke.
The Cultural Wellness Center, an organization committed to unleashing the power of people to heal themselves and build community, is working to change this narrative in the Twin Cities.
Through a renewed community-based blood pressure initiative, the Cultural Wellness Center is meeting community members where they are to encourage them to regularly check and control their blood pressure numbers.
The Center sees individuals at their homebase at the Midtown Global Market as well as at weekly community health events across the Twin Cities. While conducting these events in historically disinvested areas, Cultural Wellness Center staff saw a wider disparity in healthcare access than in their Midtown visitors. Those without regular access to healthcare were less likely to know and address their blood pressure numbers.
Knowing the dangers of untreated high blood pressure, the Center decided to reinvigorate their blood pressure awareness program with support from the American Heart Association. They now offer regular blood pressure screenings, education, and referrals to no- or low-cost community clinics. They hope to catch the emergent cases before it is too late.
The program has seen success since its start in January 2022, helping hundreds of people each week know their numbers and start on a path of prevention or treatment. The Cultural Wellness Center is building a healthier community one blood pressure screening at a time.
The American Heart Association will honor the Cultural Wellness Center at the 28th annual Twin Cities Heart Ball on Friday, November 4, 2022, at the Depot Minneapolis. Kyle Johnson, principal at Deloitte and member of the American Heart Association Twin Cities board of directors, is chair of the 2022 Heart of Twin Cities campaign.
“The Cultural Wellness Center has been an invaluable community and cultural wellness hub in the Twin Cities since 1996,” Johnson says. “Their model—being about the people, from the people, for the people—is apparent in all they do, including their renewed blood pressure initiative. We are thrilled to highlight their incredible impact at this year’s Heart Ball.”
For tickets and more information on the Twin Cities Heart Ball, visit heart.org/tcheartball.