100 Black Men of America focus on health and wellness

6/15/2013, 3:19 p.m.
The 100 Black Men of America (100 BMOA) focused on the awareness and solutions for a number of health and ...

NEW ORLEANS - The 100 Black Men of America (100 BMOA) focused on the awareness and solutions for a number of health and wellness issues impacting African Americans at its 27th Annual Conference held June 5-9 in New Orleans.

Under the theme "Optimizing Health & Wellness: Body, Mind and Spirit," over 2,100 attendees, including many youth, heard from experts on panels and in workshops, learned about new mentoring and education techniques, and recognized best practices to improve health personally and in their communities.

“Health and wellness is crucial to the youth we serve through our ‘Mentoring the 100 Way Across a Lifetime.’ Our efforts, that also include education and economic empowerment, are not nearly as effective if the youth we mentor are not healthy and well,” said Curley M. Dossman, Jr., chairman of 100 Black Men of America, Inc. “So we are intensifying our efforts to raise the consciousness of the state of health in the African American community, and enhancing our programs’ impact in this area.”

The health state of African Americans was put in the spotlight since there is greater incidence of prostate cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and HIV/AIDS for them versus the general population. Further, African Americans are more likely to die from heart disease, lung cancer, and stroke than Caucasians. Obesity and high blood pressure are also significant issues that are affecting Black youth.

In his conference keynote address, Dr. John E. Maupin, Jr., president of Morehouse School of Medicine, challenged the audience to help change the health and wellness culture of the African American community saying, “We are out of balance, out of order, and almost out of time.”

In response to the growing risks for prostate cancer – the incidence rate is 60 percent higher for African Americans and the death rate is two-and-a-half times that of white men –the 100 BMOA reaffirmed its 2012 Prostate Cancer Statement that the current standard medical guidelines for prostate cancer screening are insufficient for African American males, putting them at greater risk.

“The problem before us today is there are no definitive guidelines for African American men at highest risk of prostate cancer" said Dr. Adewale Troutman, Health & Wellness Committee chairman of 100 Black Men of America, Inc. and president of the American Public Health Association (APHA). "Therefore, 100 BMOA stands by our 2012 statement and urges the AUA (American Urological Association), the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, and other appropriate organizations to convene a panel for the specific purpose of developing guidelines applicable to high risk men.”

The 2013 Education Issues Summit was titled, “Reclaiming Our Black Males and Public Schools through Advocacy, Public Policy, and Community Engagement.” Chairman Dossman moderated a panel that included David Johns, White House Initiative on Education Excellence for African Americans; J. Delano Ford, Louisiana Recovery School District; Dr. Amy T. Wilkins, The College Board; John Jenkins, University of Houston; Dr. Bryant Marks, Morehouse College; Ken Campbell, BAEO; and Henry Hipps, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In addressing a condition that results in only 50 percent of black males graduating from high school, the panel offered solutions for both the community and its school systems.