Community Center addresses men’s health

The Bond Community Health Center and its Health Advocacy Team composed an all male program called “Surviving Manhood” this past Tuesday. The event was held to reach out to black men in the community about diabetes, cardiovascular disease, colorectal cancer, sex, mental health, and other important issues.

During the program, attendees were informed by a panel of doctors about the significance of being screened annually.

Dr. Edwardo Williams, a physician at the Bond Community Health Center, spoke about the importance of diabetes and how black men aren’t going to their physicians to get treated when they start experiencing complications of this disease.

“Men who are diagnosed with diabetes, especially the males in our minority communities, usually don’t let people know about their health, and they just don’t get treated,” Williams said. Keith Blocker, an HIV/AIDS prevention and training consultant, spoke about the importance of using protection during sexual activity.

He went on to discuss how most teenage black males are spreading the virus because they are unaware they are infected. Blocker said men are providers of new life so he cannot stress this issue enough.

“We as a minority need to protect ourselves and take whatever we bring with us and throw it away to decrease the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS, and the growing teenage pregnancy rate,” Blocker said.

Mental health was another issue discussed. Dr. Ken Fowler, a systematic effects doctor and Florida State professor, said black men tend to make excuses for mental health.

He said that black people don’t take the condition seriously and that really makes things more complicated in the future. “You know, as a community we have to address our mental health issues and make it a top priority to help not only ourselves, but family and friends as well,” Fowler said.

Many community leaders such as Joe Thomas, the director of the Walker Ford Community Center and Gregg Grady, the director of the Jake Gaither Community Center were in attendance. Both individuals said they were very supportive of this “Surviving Manhood “program.

“I think this is an excellent program because it provides great information for our men and allows them to learn about the importance of significant health issues that are affecting our community,” Thomas said. “There’s a great need for events like this because people in the community really want to start being informed and educated about their health.”