SAN FRANCISCO: Computer Initiative Focuses on African American’s Health
San Francisco officials Monday received a $94,000 grant from the California Telehealth and Telemedical Center to fund a program designed to improve the health of the city's African-American community through computers, the San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times reports. Under the initiative, four community centers in predominantly black neighborhoods will receive a pair of new iMac computers and Internet software. Health officials hope that community members who use the computers will form "eClubs" that will use the Internet to research their community's health problems and will then build their own Web sites and post their findings. Officials also anticipate that club members will become community liaisons, speaking about healthy living habits at schools and other gathering places. According to San Francisco Public Health Department statistics, African Americans have a shorter life expectancy than members of every other ethnic group, with an average life expectancy for area black men in 1995 of 60 years -- two years less than the average life expectancy for white males more than 50 years ago. Recent statistics also found that black men nationwide live an average of 63 years, compared to 73 years for white men, while black women live an average of 73 years, compared to 79 years for white women. Beverly Rashidd, executive director of the Booker T. Washington Community Service Center, said of the program, "Anything we do to empower our community to take care of themselves and share that information with others is good" (Zapler, 7/27).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.