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Athletes Legacy Champions Heart Health

African-American men represent one of the most significant at-risk populations in central Ohio and nationally, both in terms of access to adequate health care and rising rates of diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases. In response to these needs, Ohio State’s Office of Minority Affairs developed the Todd A. Bell National Resources Center on the African American Male, named in honor of the Ohio State Buckeye and NFL veteran who also served as the Office’s Coordinator of Community Relations. The Bell Center collaborates with University departments and the Medical Center to organize health drives such as:

  • The Power to Live – a free event focused on cancer prevention, heart health, nutrition, financial health, diabetes, and mental and sexual health
  • Health Basic Training for Men – a series of programs created in partnership with the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute’s Diversity Enhancement Program, the Columbus Health Department, and the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Information Service
  • Fitness Boot Camp of Columbus – a program which raises awareness and provides education about cancer prevention, early detection and clinical trials

It was a massive heart attack, the result of undiagnosed heart disease, that claimed Todd Bell’s life in 2005. Bell’s wife Daphne collaborated with Ohio State’s Ross Heart Hospital to create “Keeping TABs on Your Heart,” a program that delivers heart-health education and awareness through lectures and panels throughout high-risk communities.

One series of lectures, “Heart Sundays,” is incorporated into church services. Through “Heart Sundays,” Daphne and doctors from Ohio State’s Heart Hospital increase awareness of the importance of knowing one’s heart health family tree and living a heart-healthy lifestyle.

Timothy Hendricks, a 55-year-old mechanic from Columbus, attended a “Heart Sunday” event at New Covenant Believers Church. After hearing Daphne tell Todd’s story, Hendricks scheduled an appointment with his doctor. “I was reluctant to see my doctor because I didn’t have health insurance and I didn’t want to deal with the expense. Daphne’s speech broke my fear of going in for a visit and the expenses that would come along with it.” Hendricks now shares his story with family and friends to make them aware of heart disease and how to prevent it.