The 100 Black Men of America (100 BMOA) focused on awareness and solutions for a number of health and wellness issues impacting African Americans at its 27th Annual Conference held earlier this month in New Orleans.
Under the theme: ‘Optimizing Health & Wellness: Body, Mind and Spirit’, more than 2,100 attendees, including many young people, heard 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 are crucial to the young people we serve through our ‘Mentoring the 100 Way Across a Lifetime℠.’ Our efforts are not nearly as effective if those 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 in the spotlight since there is greater incidence of prostate cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and HIV/AIDS versus the general population. Further, African Americans are more likely to die from heart disease, lung cancer, and stroke. 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% higher for African Americans and the death rate is 2 ½ times that of Caucasian 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.
100 BMOA conducted its traditional Community Empowerment Project (CEP) by providing a health and wellness fair for Central New Orleans residents in partnership with the 100 Black Men of Metro New Orleans.
The CEP was held at the Ashe´ Cultural Arts Center.
More than 1,200 residents received health education that included: disease prevention strategies, diet and exercise, disaster preparedness, spiritual health, financial health, and affordable health care access. In addition, health screenings for HIV/AIDS, prostate cancer, breast cancer, dental issues, and stroke were conducted, as were body mass index and blood pressure checks.
Exhibits and demonstrations on health-promoting subjects, such as how to cook nutritious meals, were also given in a festive atmosphere of healthy food, fun, and games that engaged the entire family.
At this year’s conference, 100 BMOA announced the following partnership investments: Wells Fargo $400,000 (Impact Expansion in Mentoring & Education), UPS $125,000 (Leadership Development & Scholarships), Anheuser-Busch $175,000 (Mentoring & Water Conservation), Aetna $50,000 (Health Power 2013 / Youth Movement), and General Motors $35,000 (Impact Expansion for Mentoring & Education).
“These partners reflect our collaboration with like-minded organizations and individuals who share our common cause of mentoring youth in at-risk situations,” Chairman Dossman said. “As part of our ‘100 as One’ platform, we are deepening our One Cause and broadening our One Network. These partners are part of that network which extends internationally through our 110 chapters.”