In its second year of partnership, The Balm In Gilead, Inc. is excited to return to the Tom Joyner Family Reunion Weekend at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.

The Tom Joyner Family Reunion Weekend provides an ideal platform for The Balm In Gilead, Inc. to lend its voice as a leading authority on health issues primarily impacting the black community.  For 30 years, The Balm In Gilead, Inc. has led the charge to provide critical health information and services to the hardest to reach African American communities across the country.  Locking arms with the Tom Joyner Family Reunion Weekend provides substantial advantage to ensure the African American community is receiving the latest breaking resources to aid in our successful health journey.

This year, The Balm In Gilead, Inc. is hosting two panels during the Labor Day weekend event. The first panel will take place on Saturday, Aug. 31 from 11 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. on the Main Stage. Participants will discuss how Alzheimer’s Disease is affecting African Americans more than any other ethnic group in the United States.  The second panel takes place on Sunday, Sept. 1 from 12:20 p.m.-1:05 p.m. and is entitled “The Sweet Spot”: What You Need to Know About Diabetes and How to Effectively Manage It.

Dr. Pernessa C. Seele, Founder and CEO of The Balm In Gilead, Inc., will host both panels. Panel participants will include:

  • Jonathan Jackson, PhD, founding director of the Community Access Recruitment and Engagement (CARE) Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
  • Tina Thomas, MS, BS, CDP, CADCT, MHS, Director of Programs and Services for the Alzheimer’s Association in Richmond, Va.
  • Pamela Price, BS, RN, Deputy Director of The Balm In Gilead, Inc.

Did you know that African Americans are generally diagnosed at later stages of Alzheimer’s disease, and the risk of developing Alzheimer’s is two to three times higher for African Americans? African Americans also have higher rates of chronic disease like diabetes and heart diseases, which increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

The Balm In Gilead, Inc. is home to the National Brain Health Center for African Americans. The mission of the National Brain Health Center for African Americans is to raise awareness of cognitive health issues among African Americans by working with faith-based institutions and establishing partnerships with organizations and individuals dedicated to The Balm In Gilead’s mission. Additionally, the Brain Health Center serves as an information hub on the human brain that is shared through networks that reach approximately 40 million African Americans in the United States. Through initiatives like Memory Sunday, held annually in June, The Balm utilizes the influence of the African-American pulpit to promulgate information about Alzheimer’s disease and ways to reduce the risk of developing dementia.

Tackling Diabetes

According to the National Institutes of Health, studies have concluded that biological risk factors—including weight and fat around the abdomen—are primarily responsible for higher rates of diabetes for black Americans compared with white Americans. Making positive changes, such as losing excess weight, can help reduce the racial health disparity for developing diabetes.

The Balm In Gilead heads up a national faith-based pre-diabetes program known as the Southeast Diabetes Faith Initiative. The program is based in North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia and Virginia, where the focus is to expand access and utilization of the Centers for Disease Control’s National Diabetes Prevention Programs. SDFI offers lifestyle coaching programs and other services to help communities and individuals achieve a healthier life.

Celebrating 30 years of service, The Balm In Gilead, Inc.—Where Faith and Public Health Connect—Is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization (NGO) whose mission is to prevent diseases and improve the health of individuals who are disproportionately affected by high rates of diseases such as HIV, hepatitis C, Alzheimer’s, dementias, cervical cancer and sexual violence. The Balm In Gilead is based in Richmond, VA. The organization provides technical health information and service implementation support to more than 10,000 faith institutions.

Annually, The Balm In Gilead, Inc. hosts the Healthy Churches 2020 National Conference which brings faith, public health and mainstream medical industry influencers to the table. This year’s sixth annual conference takes place in Charlotte, NC from Nov. 19-22. To register, visit

Stay updated on the latest information about The Balm In Gilead, Inc. and Healthy Churches 2020 by texting Balm to 22820. Follow us on social media @balmingilead and @healthychurches2020

For all things Balm In Gilead, Inc., visit


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