Mayo Clinic Doctor Initiates Program to Help African-Americans Deal with Heart Disease

August 28, 2018 01:52 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the nation, and it disproportionately affects African-Americans.

Dr. LaPrincess Brewer, a cardiologist at Mayo Clinic, is using what began as a class project a decade ago, to make a change.


“I had no idea this program would go from a class project in a public health course to now Rochester, Minnesota and the Twin Cities area,” Dr. Brewer said.

The program is called FAITH, which stands for Fostering African-American Improvement in Total Health.

“Change is often incremental, small steps, that can make a difference if you start doing them on a consistent basis,” said FAITH partner Margaret Frye.

Making small changes that prevent heart disease, is at the core of what Dr. Brewer’s doing.

“The FAITH program partners with local African-American churches to change the cultures in the churches around promoting heart health,” she said.

That means getting active and making healthy choices when it comes to food.

“Instead of having the macaroni-and-cheese, we can also have our seasoned green beans,” Dr. Brewer said.

For her and so many, heart disease is personal.

“I’ve had several family members to pass away from uncontrolled cardiovascular risk factors which has led to them, unfortunately, having heart attacks and strokes,” she said.

The same rings true for Margaret.

“My grandmothers, maternal and paternal grandmothers, both had heart-related issues, both had triple bypass surgeries, and after that experience, they both had to make major changes,” she said.

“These things are in my family history and I don’t have to necessarily succumb to them or have my life negatively impacted by them if I can do something ahead of time,” Margaret added.

Right now, Dr. Brewer’s FAITH is active in six churches across Rochester and the Twin Cities.


Alice Keefe

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