GHS to host 12th annual Community Health Summit in April

GREENVILLE, S.C.—Greenville Health System will host its 12th annual Community Health Summit next month to raise awareness about diabetes and mental health. The event, which was formerly known as the GHS Minority Health Summit, also continues to transition to be a venue for youth to learn about careers in health care.

This year’s keynote speakers are known as “The Three Doctors.” The doctors are nationally known as the pact/promise makers. They are three friends who grew up in Newark, N.J., and vowed as teenagers to support each other on their journeys to become physicians. The Community Health Summit will take place Saturday, April 7 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the TD Convention Center. It is free to attend, but registration is required through ghs.org/summit. Groups, including churches and schools, can register by calling 864-832-0260.

“We are excited to host this event while expanding it to be educational for the entire family,” said Melinda Hudson Gillispie, GHS’ manager of multicultural affairs and pipeline initiatives. “We want people to walk away from the summit with a better understanding of diabetes and mental health concerns as well as resources offered by GHS and our community partners that can help. We also want to encourage our youth to pursue careers in health care and medicine.”

Drs. Sampson Davis (an emergency medicine physician), Rameck Hunt (an internist) and George Jenkins (a dentist) are authors of the books “The Bond,” “The Pact” and the children’s book “We Beat the Street.” They are known for inspiring others with their story about positive peer pressure and perseverance.

The summit will continue its focus on educating the community about health conditions and disparities that disproportionately impact many across the Upstate.

According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 30 million Americans have diabetes. In South Carolina, 14.1 percent of the adult population has the disease. An estimated 127,000 South Carolinians have diabetes and don’t know it, which increases their health risks. More than 37 percent of South Carolina’s adult population has prediabetes and an estimated 28,000 people in the state are diagnosed with diabetes every year. Diabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, amputations, kidney disease, blindness and death.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five adults experience a mental health condition every year. One in 17 people living in the United States lives with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, according to NAMI.

“Conversations focused on diabetes and mental health are needed in our community,” Gillispie said. “We want people to be informed and understand risks and symptoms so they can get necessary support services as soon as possible. There is also a need to reduce the stigma associated with these conditions.”

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