Diabetes disproportionately affects the Black community. According to a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, African Americans are 60 percent more likely to be diagnosed with the disease and twice as likely to die from it. Actress Angela Bassett is using her platform to bring attention to the disease in hopes of preventing another individual from becoming a statistic. According to Black Enterprise, she has teamed up with two health-focused organizations for the creation of a new campaign.
The campaign—dubbed Know Diabetes by Heart—is a collaborative project between the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association. The initiative focuses on educating individuals on how to effectively manage diabetes and decrease the chances of succumbing to cardiovascular complications.
For Bassett, the disease—which affects over 30 million Americans—hits close to home. Her mother died after battling with heart issues that stemmed from diabetes. “I wish my family had recognized the link earlier and that’s why I want everyone living with Type 2 diabetes to know about the connection to heart disease and stroke and know that they can do something about it,” she said in a statement. “Start by asking about it at your next doctor’s appointment.” Ambassadors for the campaign include five individuals from different walks of life who have experienced the effects of Type 2 diabetes and are now taking charge and controlling their health.
Bassett isn’t the only Black actress spreading awareness about diabetes. Earlier this year, Viola Davis joined forces with the pharmaceutical company Merck to narrate a documentary—titled A Touch of Sugar—that captured how the disease is impacting communities across the country. “I’m one of the 84 million American adults living with prediabetes and I’m sharing my story for the first time in an effort to inspire others to take action against the type 2 diabetes epidemic,” she said.