Partnering with AAWP to Bring Health Education to the African American Community

Healthwise Communications Team

In October this year, Healthwise kicked off a partnership with the African American Wellness Project (AAWP). Organized to respond to the inequities in health care delivery between African Americans and almost all other groups in the United States, the AAWP is helping bridge the gap in health and wellness for the Black community through various health education programs. Directly from the AAWP’s website, people can now access the Healthwise® Knowledgebase.


We spoke with Monique LeNoir-Pittman, the AAWP’s Executive Director, and Dave Foster, Healthwise’s Sr. Director Consumer Strategy and Insights, to learn more about the partnership.

Q&A with AAWP’s Monique LeNoir-Pittman

Q: Tell us about the AAWP
A: The AAWP was founded years ago by my dad, Dr. Michael LeNoir (pictured below). He has always had a vested interest in addressing health disparities and informing African Americans how to advocate for their own health. He's always worked in the medical field as a pediatrician and allergist, and he’s seen how a lot of his patients don't have the tools and resources they need to make decisions about their health. Many of his patients get their medical information on social media, and a lot of it is not credible.


I share my dad’s passion for this work. My dad was always the doctor out in the community talking to people, trying to get the message out. He’s been a trusted source in the community for decades and provided tools and avenues for African Americans to receive information, so that they can take charge of their own health and prevent certain conditions from morphing into other conditions early on. My mom passed away from Asthma when I was 14. Back then, so many people didn’t know about the prevention, and that’s why information is so important. Knowing my dad has been at this work forever and seeing him on TV and hearing him on the radio as a young girl is why I made the decision to pursue a career in the communications field. This organization has the potential to grow even more, especially because of the pandemic and what we’re dealing with right now.

Q: How does the AAWP share health information with the African American community?
A: AAWP shares health information with the African American community a number of ways. Dr. LeNoir hosts a weekly podcast with special guests focused on health issues that disproportionately affect the Black community. He also does weekly Facebook Live events, and during the pandemic especially while it’s been harder to go to a doctor, AAWP even held a live virtual Q&A to answer general health questions. AAWP also produces a weekly newsletter, ethnic health reports where Dr. Lenoir weighs in on timely news and our has a wealth of information on the website.

AAWP has also partnered with many organizations to amplify their health issues and concerns and inform the Black community about how they can take charge of their health. One particular partnership was with VNR1 Communications to produce and distribute monthly public service announcement (PSA) that ran on various platforms nationwide, reaching more than 25 million people nationwide.

AAWP has partnered with organizations, like the Black Women’s Health Imperative and the Asthma and Allergy Network and Dr. Lenoir is asked to give his expert medical opinion  in a lot of media interviews and on various virtual events. His focus is Northern California because that’s where he lives, but AAWP’s reach is national targeting all Black populations.

Q: What challenges does the AAWP face?
A: The challenge is just meeting our audience where they are. Several years ago, I wrote my Master’s thesis on How to Develop an Effective Health Care Campaign for the African American community and discovered that in order to be successful, a campaign must have a trusted source and messenger, messages that resonate, specific communications vehicles that are easily accessible and clearly defined action steps.

Another challenge is awareness – letting the Black community know that we exist and for their benefit so we can inform them how to take charge of their health, get information from credible sources, and not be distrustful of institutions like the medical professions and doctors. It's really important to bring the experts to people.

Q: How does Healthwise fit?
A: Healthwise allows us to bring more valuable tools, resources and information directly to our target audience.  While our website contains credible information, tools and resources, relevant articles and latest health related news on our website, Healthwise provides the platform for us to step it up several notches and become the go to website for needed health related information.

Our team is super excited about this partnership because it allows us to further deliver on our mission to serve as a trusted, credible, and valuable resource in the community!

Q&A with Healthwise’s Dave Foster

Q: Why did we decide to partner with the AAWP?
A: It’s a great opportunity to be a trusted resource for the African American community. Although the information we offer may be available in other places, we want to make sure we are reaching the African American community and learning from them. Our partnership with the AAWP is almost like being a digital version of a trusted health advisor in a local community. We’re offering credible information through a trusted grassroots source.

Q: Why are we engaging on race?
A: The statistics we're seeing around health care disparities that Black people face—especially during Covid-19—we couldn't ignore. The numbers show there's a disparity that needs to be addressed. We can help by providing resources. In the Black community, people may be more likely to get information from their community versus going to a health system. And that’s what the AAWP is trying to do—reach their community with health information and resources to improve health outcomes. They know their community isn't always getting the best information from other places, so how can they reach the community from a trusted source using validated content? And that’s where Healthwise is able to help—by providing reliable, accurate content.

Q: What will Healthwise gain from this partnership?
A: We can learn not only from the people that the AAWP is reaching, but also the way they're reaching them. The AAWP reaches the African American population through Facebook Live events, PSAs a Podcast and digital and traditional media. If Healthwise can be a part of that, not only can we make an impact based on our standard offerings, but it helps us learn how to connect with the public through a grassroots organization that's on social media. We can use this knowledge for good.

To that end, the AAWP will be sharing their metrics on how many people take advantage of the Healthwise information on the AAWP site. Healthwise is also developing survey tools that AAWP will use to gather more feedback about usage, what information viewers are interested in receiving and accessing and how it’s making a difference in their overall health and well-being. This is an exciting opportunity for Healthwise to engage directly with consumers and strengthen our relationship to the people we ultimately serve.

Learn more about the AAWP and see Healthwise resources in use at the AAWP website.