August 06, 2013

African-American men focus of $13.5 million grant
A joint project of the School of Medicine at UAB and the University of Minnesota Medical School will create the National Transdisciplinary Collaborative Center for African-American Men’s Health.

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mhrc logoA joint project of the School of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Minnesota Medical School has been awarded a $13.5 million grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities to create the National Transdisciplinary Collaborative Center for African-American Men’s Health (NTCC).

The NTCC combines the academic medical institutions with 100 Black Men of America Inc., the National USA Foundation Inc. and the National Football League to create community partnerships to design, deliver and evaluate interventions targeting the four most significant causes of death and disease across the lifespan of African-American men and boys: unintentional and violence-related injury, cardiovascular disease, cancer and stroke.

James M. Shikany, DrPH, a professor of Preventive Medicine at UAB, and Selwyn M. Vickers, M.D., chair of the Department of Surgery at Minnesota, are co-principal investigators of the grant. (Update: in October 2013 Vickers became senior vice president for Medicine and dean of the School of Medicine at UAB.) 

Men in the United States are at greater risk of the major premature causes of death; their life expectancy is almost five years shorter than women’s: 76.3 years compared to 81.1. African American men face even more serious challenges. They have the highest age-adjusted death rate from any cause and arguably the worst health status of any race or gender group in the U.S. In 2011, African American men were expected to live four and a half fewer years than white men: 72.1 years compared to 76.6.

African-American men have a greater struggle than those in other racial groups with socioeconomic factors, such as high poverty, low education level, widespread unemployment, lack of health insurance, unhealthy lifestyle behaviors and health literacy issues, said Mona Fouad, M.D., MPH, director of the UAB School of Medicine’s Division of Preventive Medicine and of its Minority Health & Health Disparities Research Center (MHRC), and an Investigator on the NTCC. 

In the U.S., 38 percent of African-American men aged 18 to 29 are uninsured and 27.2 percent aged 30 to 44 are uninsured, Fouad said. More than 20 percent of young African-American men live in poverty and 19.5 percent are unemployed. “The collaborative work between academic institutions, the private sector and grassroots organization aims at addressing the ‘causes of causes’ of chronic diseases that affect the most vulnerable populations in our society,” Fouad said.

African-American men have a greater struggle than those in other racial groups with socioeconomic factors, such as high poverty, low education level, widespread unemployment, lack of health insurance, unhealthy lifestyle behaviors and health literacy issues, said Mona Fouad, M.D., MPH, director of the UAB School of Medicine’s Division of Preventive Medicine.  
The NTCC will focus on the determinants of disease and premature death among African-American men and will develop collaborative strategies and interventions to coordinate fragmented efforts for men’s health awareness, disease management, prevention and research at the national, regional, state and local levels. It will build on regional involvement while providing a national scope for a comprehensive approach to the socioeconomic, behavioral and biological factors driving and sustaining the pronounced health disparities experienced by African-American men.

Each of the non-academic partners has a well-developed community engagement profile and culture that will provide a unique academic-community partnership for the proposal, Fouad said.  

NUFI is the foundation of the National Baptist Convention, USA Inc., the largest organization of African-American Baptist congregations in the Western Hemisphere with more than 7 million parishioners. The NBC Health Outreach Prevention Education Initiative (NBC-HOPE) is charged with dramatically improving the health of African-Americans under the motto of Building Healthy Communities – Congregation by Congregation. NBC-HOPE is a member of the national partnership for Action to End Health Disparities of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Minority Health.

100 Black Men of America has 112 chapters across the country providing mentoring services in education, health and wellness, economic empowerment and leadership development to people of African descent. The health programs focus on providing access to education, information and tools to create and sustain healthy choices and lifestyles that will improve health outcomes and mitigate the burden of cancer, cardiovascular disease, depression, obesity, HIV/AIDS, violence, sickle cell anemia, and other conditions that plague the African- American community.

The NFL consists of 32 franchises located in most major metropolitan areas throughout the country, and 67 percent of all players are African-American. The NFL has a diverse portfolio of community outreach initiatives, including concussion awareness, education and prevention in youth players. It also has programs focused on promoting sound lifestyle choices in young athletes. The NFL has current health initiatives for physical activity and exercise (Play 60), breast cancer awareness (A Crucial Catch), and, in conjunction with the American Urological Association, prostate cancer screening and treatment (Know Your Stats).
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