Federation’s Multicultural Center announces N.O. East health initiative

Ina Davis and Bradley Bain present a check to New Orleans East Hospital CEO Takeisha Davis and Chief Medical Officer Candace Robinson.

On Nov. 17, the Goldring Family Foundation Center for Jewish-Multicultural Affairs at the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans announced a groundbreaking partnership with the Rhesa and Alden J. McDonald and Sue Ellen and Joseph Canizaro Diabetes Center at New Orleans East Hospital.

“Get NOEH Fit: Healthy You, Healthy Me” will seek to directly address the healthcare disparities facing local communities of color and historically underserved populations, and that have been made even more apparent by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ina Davis, who co-chairs the Center with Bradley Bain, said the initiative is “a signature program for the Center.”

The initiative will emphasize prevention and care of diabetes and other diseases that disproportionately affect minority communities, healthy meal preparation and eating habits, and the role of exercise and physical activity in improving wellness.

Takeisha Davis, CEO of New Orleans East, said Covid-19 revealed structural failings in the healthcare system and the disproportionate effect on communities of color. “It is our responsibility as a healthcare pillar to look ahead and pay attention to concrete steps that can be taken to ensure that recurring patterns of health disparities do not repeat themselves.”

Bain and Ina Davis presented a check for $10,000, which Takeisha Davis said will “help us kick off this groundbreaking partnership… and help us to partner with local African-American owned restaurants around the city of New Orleans,” where world-renowned chefs will “provide virtual cooking demonstrations and show us how we can continue to adhere to the culture that we love and prevent diabetes at the same time.”

To kick off the initiative, “Get NOEH Fit: Healthy You, Healthy Me” will be producing an initial video program in the middle of November, which also serves as National Diabetes Awareness Month. Dooky Chase’s Restaurant chef Edgar Chase IV and Saba chef Alon Shaya will create a healthy dish that will be featured on the Dooky Chase menu, and an NOEH Diabetes Center registered dietician will provide a timely summary of tips for navigating the holidays.

Led by Corey Hebert, chief medical officer for WDSU-TV, outreach to the community will be conducted via e-mail marketing campaigns; television and radio interviews; short videos on social media; billboards and other signage; public service announcements; advertisements on local social, television, radio, and print media; and more. Community members will also be encouraged to actively participate in wellness-related events and promotional challenges through which they will be eligible to win prizes.

Arnie Fielkow, Federation CEO, said that just as the entire community rallies behind the Who Dats, everyone needs to “rally behind an important cause that we all encounter in the greater New Orleans area,” that of “disparities in our health care, especially as it relates to the African-American communities.”

The diabetes prevention education program “is going to be fun, it’s going to be lighthearted, but it is also serious in terms of trying to mitigate the disparity that we all face,” Fielkow said.