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100 Black Men of America hold conference in New Orleans

17th June 2013   ·   0 Comments

By Ben Ledbetter
Contributing Writer

Charlie Hill saw a need in his community and he wanted to take action.

Hill attended the Community Empowerment Project on June 8 which was part of the 100 Black Men of America, Inc.’s annual conference in New Orleans.

The Virginia resident got involved with the organization in his home state and is a member of the chapter that serves the Hampton Roads area in the eastern part of the Old Dominion.

“I got involved primarily because of the need in our community in Virginia, the need to bring focus in areas on vulnerable people,” he said during the event on Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. Hill saw other issues in his area affecting young people like education, poverty, economic empowerment and mentoring. “The driving force was health and wellness. There’s so many young people who were in families where diabetes and high blood pressure were present.”

Hill had helped open a community health clinic in Hampton, Va. and is the president of the Hampton Roads Prostate Forum, an organization he also helped found. According to the website gudestar.org, the Internal Revenue Service granted the organization its tax-exempt status in 2009.

“Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among men,” Hill said. “The highest risk group is men of African descent and men who have a family history. It’s awful and we have to reverse that.

According to the Forum’s website, Hill is a survivor of prostate cancer and had his prostate gland removed in 2002.

During the conference, 100 Black Men of America reaffirmed its position that guidelines from leading medical groups were insufficient for African-American men and were putting them at risk.

“We do not agree with the AUA, as we did not agree with the U.S. Preventative Task Force last year, whose guidelines did not reflect the benefits of prostate specific antigen testing in the detection of prostate cancer for men at highest risk of having prostate cancer,” said Adewale Troutman, the chairman of the organization’s health and wellness committee. “Because African-American men are two and a half more times more likely to die from prostate cancer than white men, and have a 60 percent higher incidence of prostate cancer than white men, we are at a higher risk.”

The group encourages African- American men to start annual prostate exams at age 35, especially those that have a family history of the disease.

“The problem before us today is there are no definitive guidelines for men at the highest risk of prostate cancer,” Dr. Troutman said. “Therefore, the 100 Black Men of America stands by its 2012 statement and urges the 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 higher risk men.”

The June 8 event lined Oretha Castle Hayley Blvd. and included booths from the Daughter of Charity Services, the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center and the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco Free Living.

While there were organizations present at the event that had a purpose of contributing to personal health and wellness, this was supported by a separate local foods exposition and boxing gym. The exposition was part of this year’s Eat Local Challenge and included a pig roast and a plethora of other local food items.

This year’s conference lasted from June 5-9 and took place at the Hyatt Regency hotel downtown. According to 100 Black Men of America spokesman Dennis Dent, this is the second time the organization has held its annual conference in New Orleans. The first time was before Hurricane Katrina.

This article originally published in the June 17, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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