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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          NEWS SERVICES
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ADVISORY

For immediate use

Jan. 29, 2002 -- No. 48

Initiative to focus attention on health plight of black men, improve access to care

Wednesday (Jan. 30), 10 a.m.
Strengthening the Black Family Inc. offices
568 E. Lenoir St., Raleigh

Officials from Strengthening the Black Family Inc., which operates a southeast Raleigh-based center for community health and development, will join a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health researcher Wednesday to launch a program to raise awareness of the health needs of black males in Wake County.

Statistics show that men are not receiving the medical care and education they need to maintain good health. Routine checkups and preventive care are not a part of the regular personal health regimen of many men. Access, lack of insurance and a lack of services for men are among the challenges faced by this population.

Wednesdayís event will introduce the Menís Health Initiative, an effort of the African-American Male Health Coalition, a unit within Strengthening the Black Family Inc. Speakers will release information from focus group research regarding menís health issues and the needs of the community. With local citizens invited to participate and listen, the event also will serve as an information session for the community with discussion of ways menís health needs can be better identified and addressed.

Three people key to the initiativeís launch and development will speak: Michael Royster, a postdoctoral fellow in the UNC School of Public Healthís department of health behavior and health education; and Al Richmond, program coordinator, and Lucille Webb, president, both with Strengthening the Black Family Inc.

Roysterís fellowship is focused on advancing the health of black men. His work in southeast Raleigh is a key service component of those efforts.

Strengthening the Black Family Inc., a tax-exempt community group, aims to improve the quality of life for black families in Wake County. The African-American Menís Health Initiative is one of more than a dozen projects run through the organization, which was chartered in 1981 and enjoys support from more than 40 community partners.

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Note: Royster can be reached at (919) 966-8650 or mroyster@email.unc.edu

School of Public Health contact: Lisa Katz at (919) 966-7467 or lisa_katz@unc.edu

News Services contact: Deb Saine at (919) 962-8415