Making the case for better health in public housing

Marcella Roberts photoBy American Heart Association News

As an attorney and vice president of a real estate firm, Marcella Roberts makes decisions based on data — cold, hard facts. But the stats about heart disease in women didn’t become real for her until it became personal.

Two years ago, while attending the American Heart Association’s flagship meeting, Scientific Sessions, Roberts had her blood pressure taken. It read an alarming 195/110. (Put in perspective, blood pressure under 120/80 is considered normal.)

“The lady at the booth said, ‘Something must be wrong.’ So, I put my arm in it again and it said the same thing,” Roberts said.

Sitting and resting, and then relaxing with a chair massage, didn’t change the results. Roberts ended up in the emergency room — a trip that would ultimately change her lifestyle and galvanize her efforts to help communities get healthier in her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama.

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