Nashville, Tenn. (TN Tribune)–The Nashville (TN) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated
has worked during the COVID-19 Pandemic to make an impact through its Black K.A.R.E.
Initiative made possible with funding provided through the Central Area of The Links,

As Chapter President Shay Gresham Howard explains, “Black Americans make up
just 13% of the United States population, but they account for about 35% of people with kidney failure in the U.S. This disease is devastating our community and we must take steps to better health to prevent or manage chronic kidney disease.”

The Nashville (TN) chapter was one of 29 chapters in the Central Area of the Links initially
chosen in the pilot program of this initiative. Each chapter selected a program coordinator and worked with its members and community partners to implement programming surrounding CKD.

Through this work they have been able to offer education, webinars, a social media awareness campaign, launch a CKD billboard on the historic Jefferson Street corridor, and provide incentives for community members including yoga kits (mats, water bottles, yoga towels, fresh juice, and a thirty day virtual yoga membership) to name a few. They even collaborated with the Central Area Getting Relevant Education, Exercise, and Nutrition (G.R.E.E.N.) Basket Initiative offering portion control plates, measuring cups, nonperishable foods such as pinto beans, rice, a fact book and cookbook, and grocery store gift cards for participants of the chapter Three Days of Connection + Care virtual webinar series held last November. Mrs. Gresham Howard says “the importance of good nutrition is critical to preventing or controlling high blood pressure and diabetes – trigger diseases for chronic kidney disease.”

Dr. Katherine Y. Brown, Program Coordinator for the Black K.A.R.E. Initiative explained, “After learning that the purpose of the Central Area (CA) Black K.A.R.E Initiative was to collaborate, mobilize, and engage with trusted intermediaries, healthcare professionals, faith-organizations and civic leaders, role models and other opinion leaders/influencers within their respective communities to implement community based programming and interventions to address Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), I was excited about the possibilities and thankful to serve in this capacity.

Our chapter fosters such a positive environment for collaboration that we have been
able to work with community partners, clinics, local HBCUs and make a tremendous impact in the Nashville community.”

President Gresham Howard has made strides during her tenure as President to ensure that the chapter provided much needed programming. When asked what were the greatest impacts through the Black K.A.R.E. Initiative, she shared that the sense of community offered in the virtual environment through the program has far exceeded the expectations.

Some of the exciting highlights included virtual yoga, having a nutritionist, fitness expert, nephrologist, internist, offering blood pressure kits for the community and more. The Arts Facet of the Nashville (TN) chapter launched an artistic component allowing students to creatively raise awareness of CKD as well. Working with local community partners including Metropolitan Interdenominational Church, the First Response Clinic, Meharry Medical College, as well as the placement of a CKD education billboard in the historic Nashville community corridor; in addition to offering virtual webinars and providing supplies and service through and to other organizations, the Nashville (TN) Chapter reached approximately 2,000 people overall in a six month period.

For more information about the Black K.A.R.E. Initiative visit The Nashville (TN) Chapter was chartered in 1952 and will soon celebrate 70 years of friendship and service to the Nashville community.