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100 Black Men of Greater Detroit and BCBS of Michigan hold successful health expo

The free ‘Man Up! For Better Health’ event helps families – especially black men – get proper care

(DETROIT, MI) -- Officials from 100 Black Men of Greater Detroit and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan welcomed hundreds who join them for health screenings and a 3-Mile Walk on Belle Isle Park on September 10, 2011.

The second annual “Man Up! For Better Health” was held at the Belle Isle Casino on that Saturday. The free event allowed participants to walk 3 miles around the Island, be screened for a myriad of conditions and get health service and physician referrals as needed. The event is designed for the entire family, and refreshments will be provided.

“We know that, on average, black men die at least 7 years earlier than men from other demographic groups, meaning as many as 40% of our brothers will leave us when they’re in their 60s,” said Anton Chastang, president of 100 Black Men of Greater Detroit. “We want to change that with both prevention and early diagnosis.”

The event is a sequel to last year’s walk and health fair, which drew nearly 600 people, 300 of whom received health screens from partner health organizations. Such free screening is important, as 18% of the state’s African American population lacks health insurance, according to a 2010 Michigan Department of Community Health report. Last year, 35 people who participated in the health screenings had results outside the normal range. They were advised to follow up with a physician or health care provider.

A recent study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found death rates for African Americans are 25% higher for cancer, 30% higher for heart disease and 41% higher for stroke than their Caucasian counterparts. Those numbers stem in part from the fact that, historically, too few black men go to the doctor or get treated.

“Blue Cross is committed to reducing health disparities in traditionally underserved communities across the state, and this strategic partnership helps to effectively impact the health decisions people make,” said Bill Toples, BCBSM director of service operations and chair of 100 Black Men of Greater Detroit Health and Wellness. “We are working with organizations, churches, schools and entire communities to get people moving, exercising and eating healthier. The Man Up! event is a great way to educate and engage people, especially African-American men, in taking personal responsibility for their health.”



Other event sponsors include the St. John, Oakwood, Detroit Medical Center and Henry Ford Health systems, CVS/Caremark, Health Centers Detroit Medical Group, Marlene L. Garland Hill Agency, Health Alliance Plan, Vattikuti Urology Institute, Detroit Wayne County Health Authority, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, Pepsi Beverages Company and Prince Hall Mason Child ID Program-MI CHIP.

The September event, occurring during Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, is part of an ongoing campaign that began in the summer of 2009. The first phase, “Man Up! Let’s Talk Health,” encouraged southeast Michigan men, particularly African Americans, to get tested for prostate cancer to help reduce the death rate caused by the disease. Prostate health issues in African American men are about 60% higher than in other ethnic groups.

In a continuing effort to reduce this health disparity, 100 Black Men of Greater Detroit is asking men to take responsibility for their personal health and the health of their families, and to develop a relationship with a health care provider.

For more information on 100 Black Men of Greater Detroit or to get involved, go to the organization’s web site at www.100blackmendetroit.org or call 313.874.4811.

 

 
   

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