The Hip-hop Doc raises awareness about heart disease

Allison B. Hudson

Dr. Rani G. Whitfield is about to run fast!  In order to raise money and awareness about the nation’s number one killer of all Americans – Heart Disease, Dr. Whitfield, also known as Tha Hip Hop Doc, a national spokesperson for the American Heart and Stroke Association; will challenge his mind and body to compete in one of track and field’s most grueling events, the 400 meter dash.  His campaign launched the first week of February with an inspirational video and later in the month there will be a song and accompanying video called Let’s Go

Heart disease is the number one killer of women age 20 and over, killing approximately one woman per minute.  More women die of heart disease than the next five causes of death combined- including all forms of cancer.  In his home state of Louisiana alone, “1 out of 4 deaths in Louisiana is due to heart disease” (National Vital Statistics Report, 2009).  To stress the importance of the doctor patient relationship as an integral component in staying healthy, each race will be dedicated to one of Dr. Whitfield’s patients that has made a commitment to get better and live a healthier life.

As Dr. Whitfield trains and makes demands of his body to perform, he is reminded why the 400 meter dash is similar to living with heart disease.  “It’s too long to be considered a sprint and too short to be considered a distance event,” said Whitfield.  “Going too fast in one part of the race or too slow in another may cost you the race; very similar to someone with heart disease- if you live life in the fast lane and don’t take care of yourself, heart disease is almost inevitable.  If you move slow and don’t see your doctor on a regular basis, take your medicine as prescribed, and learn the warning signs about heart disease, you will also suffer.”   Although applicable to ones health, this is the same course of action that Dr. Whitfield will need in order to finish strong in his races.  His goal finish time is one minute in remembrance of the lives taken each minute by this disease.

His all star “Team H2D” which includes 2008 Olympic long-jumper Brian Johnson, certified personal trainer Carlos Rachel, and sprint coach Paula Walker, is training Dr. Whitfield. Although recovering from a strained hamstring, he is scheduled to compete in the following USATF sanctioned meets:

·       February 12, 2010 Baton Rouge, LA USATF Southwest Regional Masters Indoor Track and Field Championship

·       March 12, 2010 Lake Charles, LA Cowboys Invitational

·       March 25, 2011 Baton Rouge, LA LSU Relays

·       April 16, 2011 Baton Rouge, LA Pelican Relays

·       April 23, 2011 Baton Rouge, LA LSU Alumni Gold

·       June 17, 2010 Davis, CA Western States Masters International Invitational/Sacramento Senior Games

·       July 7, 2010 Sacramento, CA World Masters Athletics Championships