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'Reclaiming Our Health'
BIG, Black Caucus Share Radio Segment

By Felicia Shingler

Blacks in Government (BIG) and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) recently shared a segment of Bernie McCain's WOL radio show. McCain used a segment of his talk program to spread the word on two issues: minority leadership in government workforces and minority health.

McCain alternately interviewed BIG leadership and tuned in to a CBCF issue forum, "Prime Time Sisters Call to Action: Reclaiming Our Health." Dr. Vivian Pinn, NIH associate director for research on women's health, who served as a forum panelist, presented "Successful Aging and Menopause."

Participants in the WOL radio broadcast included (from l) Dr. Joycelyn Elders, former U.S. surgeon general; Gregg Reeves, BIG executive vice president; and Dr. Vivian Pinn, NIH associate director for research on women's health.

She said that 38 percent of U.S. women who are at least 45 years old are experiencing menopause. The biggest question many of these women ask is, "Should I take hormones?" Pinn described a study on postmenopausal hormone therapy that was recently stopped early because the risks outweighed and outnumbered the benefits. The study of the risks and benefits of combined estrogen and progestin in healthy menopausal women began in 1998 and was scheduled to run until 2005. Although noteworthy benefits were found, the disadvantages were significant enough to terminate the study earlier this year. For example, estrogen/progestin therapy resulted in a 26 percent increase in risk of breast cancer.

Complete information on the study and the results that caused it to be ended can be found online at www.nhlbi.nih.gov under Postmenopausal Hormone Therapy.

During his interview, Gregg Reeves, BIG executive vice president, described the organization's efforts to bring valuable information to its membership. "BIG represents roughly 3 million state, federal and local government employees," he said. "We are an advocate of issues directly related to black government workers." Noting that BIG's recent training conference was webcast and can be viewed at www.bignet.org, he said that a 65 percent increase in web activity has been experienced since the conference. "The webcast will definitely assist in getting information to the government employees whom BIG represents," he said.


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