Change Our Outcomes is about walking for change. Ohio University’s wellbeing support manager, Dianna Johnson-Ward, led the initiative in hopes to bring awareness and change to a salient issue for Black women across the United States.
Johnson-Ward explained the statistics that Black women have terrible outcomes with a lot of chronic illnesses, and physical activity is a great mitigating factor.
“The inspiration is just my lived experience as a Black woman,” Johnson-Ward said. “I’m very aware of the issues that affect us when it comes to health and how hard our community is being hit.”
Johnson-Ward started a new health and physical activity initiative on campus to help other women have a community to get active and be social with.
The walk started on Saturday with the group meeting up in the Peden parking lot near the bike path. Johnson-Ward had water bottles, oranges, apples and women-empowerment apparel to give out to those who attended.
The event had a large group attending with multiple-paced walking groups. The attendees walked about two and a half miles along the bike path. Johnson-Ward made her way to each group to socialize and meet the attendees.
“We’re kind of split off into our groups and the group I was with, they were really nice,” Felicity Flores, walk leader, said. “We were just talking about honestly everything – our lives, just random things about OU and stuff – it was really great. We were just chatting and talking and it was more like a bonding, and I really loved it.”
Participants in the event interacted with each other and spent time getting acquainted with one another. The event had a diverse group of people attending. However, the group had one thing in common: they all were there supporting the walk for change in order to bring awareness to the disparities Black women and women of color face with health issues.
“The experience I think went really well, we’re out walking for change and really to help support and raise awareness on Black women’s health issues across campus,” Taylor Bauer, wellbeing support manager in the Office of Health Promotion, said. “I think it went really awesome. It was great having a crowd and being able to walk on a beautiful day like today.”
Students attending the walk also agreed how helpful the event was in getting them motivated to exercise.
“It’s so good for our health, and personally, I know a lot of my friends, we struggle on basically getting our exercises in ... We are trying to find our time and stuff, so I think this is a really good idea,” Flores said. “I love the idea and I really hope this grows even more.”
The initiative will have more events in the future that everyone can attend. Johnson-Ward plans on having different opportunities for group fitness at Ping Recreation Center and inviting Black and women of color health care providers to have group conversations about this important issue. There will also be weekly walks led by walk leaders that people can attend.