During the event, over 25,000 African American men were screened and educated about preventable diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
LOS ANGELES -- A luncheon was just held for those attending the African American Men's Health Empowerment Summit at the downtown convention center, featuring two specialists on federal health care policy from the Obama administration.
The event, which was part of the African American Men's Health and Empowerment Summit, was free to the public. The pair of speakers provided an update on the landmark health care law, as well as described what reform means, in particular, for California residents.
"We are excited that our efforts have resonated with the Obama administration," said Dr. Bill J. Releford, a foot surgeon who founded the summit and is an assistant professor at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science. "Our community organizing strategies have allowed us to screen and educate over 25,000 African American men about preventable diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure around the country."
The speakers included: Michael Alexander Blake, associate director, White House Office of Public Engagement & deputy associate director, Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. He was joined by Dr. Garth Graham, M.D., deputy assistant secretary for minority health, who shapes federal health policies that affect minority health.
The summit drew attention to health disparities in black men, and featured a day of live entertainment, seminars, and free screenings, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and HIV. Qualigen, a partnering company of the black barbershop program, employed rapid prostate tests, providing results within 10 minutes. Others included: the Prostate Cancer Foundation, Novartis, Eli Lilly, County of Los Angeles, Cardiocheck, LifeClinic, Qualigen, PhRMA, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Dada Shoes.
In addition to hosting the successful summit, Dr. Releford was also one of 100 guests that were recently invited to the White House to watch the Super Bowl. Others in attendance included activist Rev. Al Sharpton, actress Jennifer Lopez and her husband, Marc Anthony, as well as Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to Obama.
About Michael Blake:
A native of the Bronx, New York, Michael Blake nationally directs outreach to the African-American community, to county officials, state attorneys general and state financial officers. Blake worked on the Obama for America campaign, first as Iowa's Deputy Political Director and Constituency Outreach Director and concluded as the Michigan State Deputy Director and Political Director.
About Dr. Garth N. Graham:
Dr. Garth N. Graham helps develop and coordinate federal health policy that addresses minority health concerns and ensures that federal, state and local health programs take into account the needs of disadvantaged, racial and ethnic populations. He was previously appointed a White House Fellow and special assistant to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.
About the Black Health Care Outreach Program:
The Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program seeks to reduce health care disparities among African American men through screening, educating and referring men to the doctor. Since its inception, the program has screened over 25,000 men in over 26 cities in 450 black owned barbershops.