Dr. Minga and HNS&CS team participates in the community Black Family Wellness Expo

By Aleksandra (Golota) Zabiran

Jamila Minga, Ph.D., an Assistant Professor in the Department of Head and Neck Surgery & Communication Sciences (HNS&CS), and her team collaborated with the UNC Hospitals Speech and Hearing faculty to offer adult and pediatric cognitive, hearing, and speech screenings at the Black Family Wellness Expo, which was organized by The Links, Incorporated.

The Black Family Wellness Expo provided African American families with access to over 40 health and wellness booths. Medical screenings for speech-language and hearing, blood pressure, cancer, cholesterol, mental health, and heart health contribute to raising awareness and emphasizing the significance of preventive health care.

Information about stroke was also shared. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a stroke, sometimes called a brain attack, occurs when something blocks blood supply to part of the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts.

Dr. Jamila Minga and Dr. Adam Jacks
Dr. Jamila Minga and Dr. Adam Jacks (UNC Speech and Hearing Faculty)

Here are some key points related to stroke and its impact on African American population: African Americans are 50 percent more likely to have a stroke compared to their white adult counterparts. Stroke risk factors include obesity, overweight, hypertension, high cholesterol, and cigarette smoking, among others.  Black men are 70 percent more likely to die from a stroke compared to non-Hispanic whites. African American women are twice as likely to have a stroke compared to non-Hispanic white women. During the Black Family Wellness Expo, 150 people received educational resources, and 51 individuals signed up for screenings.

This Expo also served as an opportunity to introduce attendees, especially children, to the speech-language pathology and audiology professions. According to the 2021 ASHA Member and Affiliate Profile, which represents 223,057 communication sciences professionals, only 3.6% of those who identify as Black are drawn to the field of speech-language pathology and audiology. Dr. Minga and her partners from UNC Hospitals collaborated in a mission to raise awareness of their professions within the community through events like this one.

Dr. Minga serves as a principal investigator (PI) at The Minga Right Hemisphere Communication Lab, which is dedicated to understanding communication impairments, particularly those related to language production, that can occur following acquired damage to the right hemisphere after a stroke.

To find out more about The Minga Right Hemisphere Communication Lab or participate in Dr. Minga’s work, please click here.

Cover photo caption:

Left to right back row (Dr. Adam Jacks (UNC-CH), Kailyn Hicks, Madeline Peterson (Duke), Giselle Dunn (psychology UG Duke), Anna Mullis, CCC-SLP (Duke), Karma Tockman, AuD, CCC-A (Duke), Jamelle Salomon, CCC-SLP (UNC-CH), Sarah Stidham, CCC-SLP (Duke), Left to right front row (Andrea Bailey, CCC-A, Dr. Jamila Minga (Duke), Ashley Ward (UNC Chapel Hill graduate student, and Haielle Minga)