April is National Minority Health Month.  It is an opportunity to advance health equity for all people of color, throughout the month.  However, did you know that this month is an offshoot of National Negro Health Week (1915) which was conceptualized and implemented by Booker T. Washington?  Booker T. Washington encouraged the African American community, including churches and influential organizations to unite around this health movement.  This concept is in keeping with what the Colorado Black Health Collaborative (CBHC) aspires to do.  We are of the people, by the people.   Our mission is to achieve health equity in Colorado’s Black Community.

We have been engaged in a number of activities this month such as youth nutrition education, blood pressure screenings at the shops, and meeting with people to form new collaborations to insure we can achieve our goals.  We also have unveiled a new graphic (please see below) that helps provide a visual for the concept and message of equity.  Unlike health equality, health equity is about providing people everything they need to be healthy.  Let us know what you think about this graphic and if we have conveyed the message well.

We rolled out our Black and Healthy Membership Drive.  Our members and volunteers are the heart and soul of our organization.  We appreciate all that they do to keep us active and viable.  We are seeking new members so that you are more connected to the great things we are doing to help you stay healthy; to network with other health-oriented people; and to serve our community.  To become a member please go to  https://www.coloradoblackhealth.org/cbhc-membership-application/Be Black and Healthy!!

Also, during National Minority Health Month, we feel this is another  opportunity for us to discuss a couple of diseases where Blacks still have disproportionate death rates—colon cancer and breast cancer.

See Terrence Howard’s account of his mom who died from colon cancer, https://youtu.be/LSfEwhUVmws .  Every year we grapple with the fact that people have delayed screening for colon cancer and are presenting with advanced colon cancer.  Some of the barriers that people mention are, they don’t have time, don’t feel this screening is important, don’t trust the health system, don’t like the clean out, don’t have insurance, or don’t have the money.  This is tough to face, as colon cancer for the most part, is slow growing and can actually be prevented with adequate screening. Here is a link to an article that provides more details on this issue:  https://health.usnews.com/health-care/patient-advice/articles/2017-07-05/why-are-african-americans-at-greater-risk-for-colorectal-cancer.

African American (AA) Colon Cancer Facts:

  • AA men and women have higher rates of colon cancer than White men and women.
  • AA are more likely to develop colorectal cancer at a younger age.
  • AA are more likely to have advanced stage of disease when diagnosed with colon cancer.
  • AA are more likely to die from colon cancer.
  • AA have shorter survival rates when diagnosed with colon cancer.
  • AA more likely to develop colon cancer on the right side of the colon.

The Black Women’s Health Imperative (https://www.bwhi.org/2018/04/06/save-lifes-advocacy/) recently shared some statistics about breast cancer in Black women and the work that they have been doing to insure that our women can receive lifesaving screening mammograms before the age of 50.

This work is important because black women tend to get breast cancer at an earlier age.  In fact, more than 25% of breast cancer in Black women occurs before the age of 50.  Black women also tend to get more aggressive forms of breast cancer.  Although Black women do not get breast cancer more often, a much higher percentage of Black women die from breast cancer.  CBHC posted a previous article entitled, “Busting Myths About Breast Cancer” on October 25, 2017.  The article talked about breast cancer myths, https://www.coloradoblackhealth.org/busting-myths-breast-cancer/.  Read this information to see what may be keeping you from getting what you need to be healthy.  If you are a woman 40 years old or older, ask your doctor about breast cancer screening—mammogram.

We hope that during the month of April you will increase your knowledge.  Join us if you believe in Black and Healthy, and put CBHC’s website on your Favorites list so you can continue learning about what we are doing to promote community wellness.

Black and Healthy – Just for the HEALTH of it!

Dr. T

© 2015 Colorado Black Health Collaborative
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