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Increasing the life expectancy of African American women


Life-Long, a project of Community Partners, was formed in 2002 to address the impact of  health disparities in relation to age. The organization is dedicated to helping middle-aged African American women achieve and maintain healthy longevity. “Our vision is to create a world where everyone has an equal chance to live a long and healthy life,” said founder Eleanor Brownn.

She began creating the idea for Life-Long when she was a student pursuing her masters in gerontology from California State University, Dominguez Hills. “I was talking about it with one of my instructors, and he suggested it become my project, and it did,” said Brownn.

“I was really concerned with the health of our community. We have a shorter life expectancy than any other race. We already have a problem with the healthcare system. When you compile that with the aging of our generation. It doesn’t look good unless some changes are made.”

Life-Long addresses topics affecting the health of women 40 and older and through public education, community outreach, personal empowerment, and advocacy, the organization is committed to eliminating ethnic and racial disparities in the areas of life expectancy and quality of life.

“I was overweight when I was in my mid-40s, and I was in healthcare. I decided I had to walk the talk and I made some lifestyle changes. Then I trained and completed the L.A. Marathon.”

Life-Long takes a hands-on approach to involve women in the process of learning, through experience, how every woman can be a participant in determining her own future.

“Black women tend to have a ‘superwoman syndrome,’ which can be a good thing, but it can sometimes be a downfall, because we forget to take care of ourselves,” said Brownn.Life-Long provides information on nutrition, physical activity, stress reduction, and community building through culturally-relevant programs, services, and activities. The non-profit also promotes the awareness of prevention’s vital role in developing optimal health at every age.

The last Thursday of every month from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Life-Long holds meetings exploring a different topic on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The meetings are held at Leeza’s Place on the third floor of Olympia Medical Center, 5901 Olympic Blvd. Los Angeles, and are free and open to the public, but donations and reservations are encouraged. For more information e-mail