INDIANAPOLIS — WRTV is partnering with the American Heart Association for its Adopt-A-Clinic initiative, an effort that's underway to collect resources that can help Hoosiers live healthier lives.
JD Harris first learned he had high blood pressure in 2005.
"I was doing computer work at Eli Lilly and they had a machine in there that you could sit down to test your blood pressure and I decided to do it one day. The machine was like stage two hypertension, I said wow this machine is broke. I did it again and it was high again so I said, OK, I'm going to go see a doctor," Harris said.
He started medication, but for several years he didn't pay attention to what he was eating. Last year he found out he was pre-diabetic.
"Eventually I started changing the way I eat. I changed basically everything about my life," Harris said.
Harris is a patient at the Shalom Health Care Center. Shalom has two northwest side clinics, one at 34th and Lafayette Road and one at 56th and Lafayette Road. Along with their 25 school-based clinics Shalom serve more than 14,000 people and 98% live below the poverty line.
The American Heart Association chose Shalom as part of an initiative to work with health care centers around the country. They're choosing federally qualified centers working with underserved populations, that typically have higher rates of chronic disease and higher risks for heart disease and stroke.
"A lot of people during the pandemic lost their job which meant they lost their health insurance, so a lot of people have neglected their chronic conditions during the pandemic. We are honored to be here to be able to support people whether or not they have health insurance to be able to provide affordable care for them and get them back on track to control their chronic conditions including hypertension." Shalom Health Care Center's Chief Clinical Officer, Lyndsey Furry said.
Sponsored by Fifth Third Bank and Lumina Foundation, the Adopt-A-Clinic initiative is providing Shalom Health Care Centers resources like blood pressure cuffs, digital scales and pedometers.
"We know this is an at risk neighborhood, a high percentage of people in the low to moderate income, so we know that this program will provide education and access to materials that this population needs to manage their chronic health conditions," Nancy Martin, Fifth Third Bank Greater Indiana Gateway Region Managing Director said.
"This is a way for us to have a continued presence in the community and we hope that our support of the Shalom Health Clinic, even now as we see our self moving out prayerfully of the pandemic, that the support will have a lasting impact on the community and those individuals that use the clinic as their primary healthcare provider," Danette Howard, Lumina Foundation's Senior VP and Chief Policy Officer said.
The initiative also needs support from the community. You can donate at Fifth Third Bank located at 2802 Lafayette Road through the end of July. Other items needed include jump ropes, diabetes test trips and glucometers to help patients like Harris get back on track to a healthier life.
"Personally I feel like if I wouldn't have started coming here I wouldn't have started paying attention to the way I eat. My diet was very unhealthy and with me coming here and getting more information and educating myself... it did change my life," Harris said.
If you are unable to donate in person, Shalom is accepting monetary donations online. Click here to donate.