Health Hero: First App for African-American Health

Dr. Maria Hester wants to help improve Black wellness with technology.

Posted: 02/20/2013 10:08 PM EST

Need health related information geared toward African-Americans? You're in luck, because there’s an app for that.

Launched earlier this week, the Total Health for African-American Christians ($2.99, Savvier Health, LLC) app for the iPhone and Android takes a mind, body and spirit approach to addressing racial health disparities in our community. But don't worry if you are not Christian or devout in faith this app is for everyone and the faith aspect is a small component to the overall scheme. 

The app provides information about some of the most pressing health issues we face from heart disease, HIV/AIDS and diabetes. You can also record voice memos to remind you of your doctor’s appointments, test your health IQ and keep notes about new recipes or workout routines.

Dr. Maria Hester, who created the app, told BET.com that she was tired of seeing so many African-American patients pass away from preventable diseases or diseases that could have been treated if diagnosed earlier.

“When I was in medical school, an older African-American woman came in with a huge lump in her breast with puss coming out of it, and I knew it was breast cancer," she said. “Unfortunately that woman died, but she didn’t have to if she had health insurance or the knowledge to come in and get a mammogram earlier.”

Hester, who has written books about health, says that technology is where information is being dispersed in the new millennium. “So many people have smart phones nowadays, and it’s great to be able to have something easy in your hand that will give you links to outside information about health.”

Most important, Hester acknowledges that access to health care is key if we truly want to address these health gaps, but she emphasizes that we have to share the health information we learn with people in our lives.

“There are not enough doctors and nurses to get this information out, and so we have to pick up the slack.” She adds, “By empowering yourself, you can empower your cousin to get her blood pressure checked or your dad to get a prostate exam. We have the power to changes our lives.”

The debut of the Total Health for African-American Christians app comes at a good time. Last November BET.com reported that researchers from Pew Internet found that African-Americans are more likely to download health-related apps on their phones.

Learn more about some of the best weight-loss apps here.

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(Photos: Courtesy of Dr. Maria Hester)

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