CHICAGO (WLS) – “I think there is enough, as they say, that is now waking people who are going to keep the pressure on the whole system,” said Dr. Constance D. Shabazz, founder and CEO of the Salaam Community Wellness Center.

Dr. Shabazz is one of those people. It promises a change in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood with the Salaam Community Wellness Center, which will offer holistic and alternative medicine when it opens in May.

“We wanted to make sure that we were not only addressing the long-standing differences in communities, but that we were also developing a different model,” said Dr. Shabazz.

Dr. Carl Lambert said there had been talks in the medical community about health inequality over the past year, but not enough action.

“How can we embed ourselves in the community to create systems and processes as well as stakeholders that help our patients get the access they need,” asked Dr. Lambert, Assistant Professor at Rush University Medical College.

Dr. Lambert said social determinants of health such as economic stability, neighborhood environment and education need to be addressed in order to bring about lasting change.

“Sometimes it’s this population’s fault – they did it to themselves,” said Dr. Lambert. “It’s not historical. There has been a drain of resources from these populations and that’s what you get.”

The Chicago Community Trust is working to fill this racial wealth gap.

“They shouldn’t have so different life outcomes in one city, so there is still a lot of work to be done,” said Dr. Helene Gayle, President and CEO of the Chicago Community Trust.

After the past year, a group of black runners is more determined to gradually change their community by pushing each other to live healthier lives.

Milton Garrett has lost about 75 pounds since the pandemic started.

“I knew I didn’t want to take blood pressure medicine in my entire life. I knew I wanted a better quality of life,” Garrett said. “I tell people that if I could, everyone could.”

Dr. Gayle believes the city will be in better shape in the future as everyone is working together now.

“When we have the right will and determination and think wisely how we can make a difference,” said Dr. Gayle. “I think we can see that kind of disparity is being eliminated and ultimately reduced.”

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