The Black Star Project
Black TV Online
The Dean's List (Terrance Dean)
Upbeat...Downbeat (Health Information)




"Black Men In will be more aggressive in our efforts to educate the black community about the risks associated with a variety of cancers and other diseases that disproportionately affect our community.  To this end we will use a wide range of resources throughout the health and medical industries."

Gary A. Johnson, Founder and Publisher

Confused about health care reform?  You're not alone.  Click on the links below to get the facts about health insurance reform.

Affordable Care Act: Obamacare & Health Reform Facts:  

Understanding the Impact of Obamacare on Medicare: 

What does Marketplace health insurance cover? 

Affordable Care Act: State-by-State Impact: 

The Lifestyle Revolutionaries Guide to Addiction Intervention:

Other Resources


News Release - April 4, 2012


Legendary R&B Musician and Prostate Cancer Survivor Lends His Voice to Build Prostate Cancer Awareness in the African-American Community

HORSHAM, Pa., April 2, 2012 – Grammy®-nominated singer, songwriter, producer and prostate cancer survivor Charlie Wilson and Janssen Biotech, Inc. are teaming up on Making Awareness a Priority: Putting Prostate Cancer on the M.A.P., a new program designed to raise awareness among African-American men and their families about prostate cancer and its disproportionate impact on the African-American community. With the highest incidence of prostate cancer of any race in the U.S., African-American men are 2.4 times more likely to die from the disease than Caucasian men. Making Awareness a Priority (M.A.P.) brings together leading voices in advocacy and health education through live events in select cities across the country.

In recognition of National Minority Health Month and National Minority Cancer Awareness Week, the program kicks off on April 21 in Atlanta, Georgia with program resources available online at My Prostate Cancer Roadmap® (

Charlie Wilson was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008. “At first, I never wanted to talk about my cancer. Then I realized that after spending a lot of my life performing, it was time to start informing.

That’s why I am continuing to raise my voice to help those with prostate cancer by joining with Janssen Biotech, Inc. in the Making Awareness a Priority program – to encourage African-American men to understand their risk factors for prostate cancer and start a conversation with their loved ones and doctors about this serious and deadly disease.”

The average annual prostate cancer incidence rate in the U.S. was 60% higher in African-American men than in Caucasian men between 2003 and 2007. Factors including family history, access to medical care and relevant support networks may contribute to the disproportionate impact. In addition to being at higher risk for prostate cancer, according to research of the impact of cultural factors on African-American men’s understanding of prostate cancer, these men often believe they do not have access to information about prostate cancer that takes into account their diverse values, beliefs, behaviors and social and cultural needs.

M.A.P. will address these issues head-on through informational and wellness events offering African-American men and their loved ones the opportunity to learn about prostate cancer risks and information and support resources available to them. The three-city tour of Atlanta, New York City and Chicago is sponsored by Janssen Biotech, Inc. and held in partnership with locally-based community organizations in these markets. Real Men Charities, Inc., the national not-for-profit organization, presents Real Men Cook® Father’s Day events as a national crusade to positively change the way the world views men in relationship to their families and the community. The Abyssinian Baptist Church in the City of New York, the oldest black Baptist church in the nation, is well-known for its leadership, social activism initiatives, and community reform programs to educate and empower its members and the Harlem community at large.

“When I first learned I had prostate cancer, I thought my career was over. I thought it was a wrap for me,” said Wilson, but his wife quickly proved to be his greatest supporter. “My wife stood tall and told me we were going to get through it. You just have to have a positive heart and go on. That’s what we did and now I want others to know about the resources that are available to them.”

At each event, Wilson will share his personal experience with prostate cancer and will be joined by Stanley K. Frencher Jr., MD, MPH, who through his work encourages African-American men to proactively speak with their doctors about prostate cancer, as well as journalist and author Andrea King Collier. As a strong advocate for empowering African-American women to take an active role in managing their loved ones’ health, Collier will emcee the events and share insights from her book, The Black Woman’s Guide to Black Men’s Health. The program also includes interactive prostate cancer information, resources and a cooking demonstration with healthy, cancer-wise food choices.

“African-American men are at a greater risk for prostate cancer and it is important that we support the African-American community with information that is both relevant and compelling,” said Robert Bazemore, President, Janssen Biotech, Inc. “Janssen Biotech is pleased to join Charlie Wilson and our local community partners to provide those who are at high-risk of, or living with, prostate cancer with the resources they need to help them navigate all aspects of their cancer journey.”

To register for an event or to find out more about Making Awareness a Priority, including live event dates and locations, visit The website is a unique educational and support resource for men with advanced prostate cancer and their loved ones sponsored by Janssen Biotech, Inc. in conjunction with the non-profit organization Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education & Support Network (

About Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer occurs when cancer cells form in the tissues of the prostate gland. Normally, cells within the prostate grow, divide, and die to make sure the prostate functions properly and are then replaced by new cells. Prostate cancer occurs when the prostate cells stop functioning normally.

These cells with uncontrolled growth don’t die as they should, creating a buildup of cells known as a tumor. Prostate cancer can occur as a slow-growing tumor to a very aggressive and potentially fatal disease that spreads throughout the body.

About Janssen Biotech, Inc.

Janssen Biotech, Inc. redefines the standard of care in immunology, oncology, urology and nephrology. Built upon a rich legacy of innovative firsts, Janssen Biotech has delivered on the promise of new treatments and ways to improve the health of individuals with serious disease. Beyond its innovative medicines, Janssen Biotech is at the forefront of developing education and public policy initiatives to ensure patients and their families, caregivers, advocates and health care professionals have access to the latest treatment information, support services and quality care. For more information on Janssen Biotech, Inc. or its products, visit

Janssen Biotech, Inc. is one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies dedicated to addressing and solving some of the most important unmet medical needs in oncology, immunology, neuroscience, infectious diseases and vaccines, and cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Driven by our commitment to patients, we work together to bring innovative ideas, products, services and solutions to people throughout the world. Follow us on Twitter at

* Making Awareness a Priority (M.A.P.) is brought to you by Janssen Biotech, Inc. Charlie Wilson, Andrea King Collier, Dr. Stanley K. Frencher Jr., Real Men Charities, Inc., and The Abyssinian Baptist Church in the City of New York were compensated for their time in preparing for and participating in the program and were reimbursed for travel expenses related to the program.

Grammy® is a registered trademark of The Recording Academy®.

Media contact:



The Hood Health Handbook - Volume One
Edited by C’BS Alife Allah and Supreme Understanding
Foreword by Dick Gregory
Supreme Design Publishing
Paperback, $19.95
480 pages, Illustrated
ISBN: 978-1-935721-32-1 

We got this book in our office several months ago with a request to review it.  The book was passed around from one staffer to another and finally resurfaced last week.  After talking with just about everyone, here is what we’ve determined. 

The Hood Health Handbook - Volume One is a compendium of health experts from communities throughout urban America.  The book offers practical health solutions.  The Hood Health Handbook features contributions from over 20 experts in fields ranging from diet to hygiene to exercise to psychology to massage to reproduction to money management to pollution and beyond.   The contributors include fitness gurus, dieticians, personal trainers, and holistic practitioners from around the country. The completion of the text was supervised by a panel of licensed physicians.

The Hood Health Handbook is a complete guide with information and insight on almost every health issue faced by people in the hood.  What makes “The Hood Health Handbook” unique is a series of “hooks” and attention grabbers, that urban America can relate to.  This same “hook” strategy was successfully used by the authors of the book, “The Little Black Book Of Success,” though their use of “Mamaisms.”  For example, the chapters have titles such as:  Teefus, Keep Your Coochie Right, Junk Food Is Crack, K.O. the B.O. and Chump. 

The Hood Health Handbook features over 120 informative and practical articles, including contributions from hip-hop artist and nutritionist Supa Nova Slom; physician and medical fraud expert Dr. Scott Whitaker; vegan chef Bryant Terry; hip-hop artist and fitness expert; chef and holistic health counselor, Afya Ibomu; expert on law and healthcare disparities Dr. Vernellia Randall; hip-hop artist and activist, Wise Intelligent; detox expert and educator Dr. Nancy Williams; naturopathic doctor and skin care consultant, Dr. Kanika Jamila and famed nutritionist Dick Gregory. 

Speaking of Dick Gregory, here’s what he had to say about the book:  “In all my world travels, never have I picked up a book with the kind of love, concern and information that I’ve seen put into this book... Information is power.
The power in this book is unimaginable. I thank the editors for taking the time and effort to teach the masses the truth about how important diet and nutrition are… Some of you aren’t even aware that you’re eating badly or living unhealthily… On every page, there’s something you must know.  When I look at the state of health in America, particularly African-Americans’, I say, ‘My God, we need a shift in the wind.’ I believe this book is the shift in the wind we’ve been waiting for.”

-Excerpted from the Preface by Dick Gregory (pgs. 3-4)

In summary, The Hood Health Handbook might be the best 480 page book you can buy.  It is a life-saving game changer for urban America.  You owe it to both your mental and physical health and that of your family and friends to purchase this book.  For more information on this book and more visit:


Black (BDO) is a powerful new resource for Black Health providing strategies, tactics and advice to help you live happier, healthier lives.  Black is the world’s largest and most comprehensive online health resource specifically targeted to African Americans.  

Here are some current articles from that we invite you to use for your health section. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions, or desire more articles.

History of Black Hair 2012

Surprising Food Cures

7 Signs That they’re NOT the One

Black History Month Spotlight: Dr. Ed James

The TOP Beauty Foods

Funerals and Fried Chicken 

Why Do People Fall Out of Love 

The Best Times to Eat 

Study Finds Bacteria in Unused Paper Towels 

Bad Habits that Hurt Relationships 


Pain Relief…the Yoga Way 

Do I need to Give Up Red Meat? 

6 Things Causing Your Belly Fat 

Your Health & Your Wealth: 3 Ways to Control Both

5 Lies to Never Tell Your Doctor 

Creative Leftover Tips 

7 Steps to Sexual Satisfaction 

Kelly Rowland Sexy Abs Workout 

Sherri Shepherd talks about Black Infertility 


8 Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving 

The Healthiest Ways to Fly with Your Family 

The Ultimate Thanksgiving Planning Guide 

How To Cheat Lose Weight

Magic Johnson & HIV: 20 Years Later, Still Strong

Black Can Crack: 5 Ways We Prematurely Age Our Skin

Belly Fat In Men: Why It's More Dangerous Than Ever

The Real Secret to Faster Weight Loss

Magic Johnson & HIV: 20 Years Later, Still Strong

Black Can Crack: 5 Ways We Prematurely Age Our Skin

Belly Fat In Men: Why It's More Dangerous Than Ever

The Real Secret to Faster Weight Loss


T-Boz and her Secret Brain Tumor

Flatten Your Belly…FAST! 

Guilty Pleasures that are Good For You

MEN: Is Your Waistline the Key to Your Health?

Blast That Belly! 

Liposuction:  Is it Good For You?

No Gym Required: A 30-Minute Workout You Can Do Anywhere

How to eat healthy…While Eating Out!


Beyonce’ and baby:  The First Trimester

Is ADHD Ruining Your Relationship

The ONLY Way to Boost Your Metabolism

Foods that Fight Breast Cancer

Fit and Fabulous MEN 40+ 

What is Your Hair Trying to Tell You? 

Get Healthier…In Seconds! 

Why Do Black Women Get Fibroids 

Bad Foods that Help You Lose 


5 Things Your Man Wants You to Know 

9 Flat Belly Tips 

The Healthy Hair Diet 

10 Secrets for More Energy 

Reasons to Break up with Your…Doctor!


Steve Harvey’s Weight Loss Journey

Beauty Tips You Haven't Heard About...Yet

Will Smith:  What Every Women Needs to Know

Home Remedies for Hot Flashes

The Truth about Generic Drugs

Essence Music Fest Fan Photos 

Laughter is Good Medicine

Erasing Weekend Diet Damage

How To Shop For Home Cardio Equipment

Halle Berry's Lower Body Workout



Would You See These Ten Frequent Misconceptions About Diabetes?

By Dorothy Kato

Here are 10 of the most well-known beliefs and facts that you need to know. 

Misconception 1: Overeating Sugar Causes Diabetes.

What makes diabetes happen? The reasons usually are not totally understood. Precisely what is known is that simply overeating sugar is not likely to cause diabetes. Instead, diabetes begins when something disrupts your capability to turn foods into energy.

To know what goes on when you've got diabetes, keep these things in your mind: The body reduces most of foods into glucose, a kind of sugar required to power your cells. A hormone called insulin is created inside pancreas. Insulin helps cells in your body use glucose for fuel.

Listed below are the commonest forms of diabetes and what researchers know about:

 * Type 1 diabetes happens when the pancreas cannot make insulin.

 * Diabetes type 2 takes place when the pancreas will not make enough insulin, the insulin doesn't work properly, or both.

 * Gestational diabetes occurs in pregnancy in certain women.

Misconception 2: You'll find A lot of Rules in the Diabetes Diet.

For those who have diabetes, you will have to plan meals. However the general principal is straightforward: Following a "diabetes diet" means choosing food that may work together with your activities and any medications to help keep your blood sugar as near to normalcy as you can.

Misconception 3: Carbohydrates Could be unhealthy for Diabetes

In reality, carbohydrates are great for diabetes. They make up the foundation of a proper diabetes diet.

Carbohydrates possess the greatest impact on blood sugar, which explains why you are required to observe the number of carbohydrates you take in when following a diabetes diet.

Misconception 4: Protein is superior to Carbohydrates for Diabetes.

The major problem is always that many foods abundant in protein, including meat, are often stuffed with fats. Overeating such fats increases your risk of heart problems. In the diabetes diet, protein should account for about 15% to 20% of the total calories you take in daily.

Misconception 5: You are able to Adjust Your Diabetes Drugs to "Cover" Anything you Eat.

If you are using insulin for your diabetes, you could discover ways to adjust the quantity and type you take to fit the quantity of what you eat. But it doesn't mean you can eat just as much as you desire, then just use more drugs to stabilize your blood sugar levels level.

Misconception 6: You will have to Quit Your preferred Foods.

There isn't any reason to discontinue your selected foods on the diabetes diet.

Misconception 7: You must Quit Desserts when you have Diabetes.

Incorrect! It is possible to develop many approaches for including desserts inside a diabetes diet. For example:

 * Use low calorie sweeteners in desserts.

 * Minimize the quantity of dessert. For instance, as an alternative to two scoops of soft ice cream, have one. Or share a dessert with a friend.

Misconception 8: Low calorie sweeteners Are Dangerous for those who have Diabetes.

Sugar substitutes tend to be sweeter compared to the equivalent level of sugar, therefore it takes a smaller amount of them to have the same sweetness present in sugar. This may lead to eating fewer calories than when you use sugar.

Misconception 9: You have to Eat Special Diabetic Meals.

The gap from a diabetes diet as well as your family's "normal" weight loss program is this: When you have diabetes, you should monitor whatever you eat a little more closely. This consists of the quantity of calories you eat and the amounts and varieties of carbohydrates, fats, and protein you consume.

Misconception 10: Diet Foods Are the most useful Selections for Diabetes.

Just because a meal is called a "diet" food does not always mean it is just a better option for those who have diabetes. In reality, "diet" foods might be expensive and no much healthier than foods found in the "regular" parts of the supermarket, or foods you prepare yourself.

And You? Still looking over this article? Move out and enjoy your daily diet!

About the writer: Dorothy Kato produces for the <a href="">menu for diabetics</a> web site, her personal hobby blog that shares tricks to help visitors to prevent/manage diabetes and help spread the focus on healthy eating.



Dr. Elisa's Top Ten Tips for Fighting "Holiday Blues"

'Tis the Season...

New York, NY - December 14, 2010 -  Fall is a marked reminder that summer has ended and is the gateway to "Holiday Blues;" which is related to psychosocial factors such as financial position, increased family responsibilities, loneliness, decreased activity, expectations that one "should" feel and do good,  and possible unresolved  conflicts with family and relationships. A more serious depressive disorder seen in some who suffer the "Holiday Blues;" is called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or simply put SAD which is bought on by a lack of sunlight, and causes depression as the days get shorter, colder and oddly enough marked with more routine.  SAD is estimated to affect36 million Americans, which is about 5% of the population and 80% of the affected population is women, mostly in their 20's to 40's. 

SAD is also related loosely to a not so clinical problem called "Winter Holiday Affective Disorder" (WHAD) which,is like SAD but with less severity in symptoms and duration. Those who suffer from SAD show signs of: increase or decrease in sleepiness, increase or decrease in appetite, decreased sex drive and energy, anxiety, diminished concentration, headaches and even hormonal fluctuation, which are related to attitudinal changes. The theory that decreased sunlight during fall and winter leads to diminished production of serotonin in the brain; a neurotransmitter that has a calming, soothing effect could be the trigger for SAD.

The following are Dr. Elisa's Top Ten Tips to Fighting the Holiday Blues:

1.       Socialize-Alienation is "holiday blues" best friend. Don't make it your friend. Get out and enjoy life. Spend time with people you enjoy and doing things you don't normally do.


2.       Dispose Garbage- Simply remove and eliminate all toxicity. That includes toxic friends, relationships and situations. If it's truly not your problem or you can't do anything to fix someone else's problem than let go of the worry and aggravation.


3.       Free - While you free yourself of toxicity - look for free things to do with your time in these hard economic times. No matter where you live there's always something free going on. If it's simply browsing and looking at the beautiful holiday displays or attending the church holiday play -the operative word is free. Make it a family adventure to see who can hunt for the most free activities.


4.       Plan - Nothing offers hope better than a plan. When you're feeling down, dream like a child, hope like an adult and execute like a winner.  Every aspect of life involves a plan. If it's thinking about what to eat or where you want to be in five years, it all involves planning. Begin to journal your vision and detail your steps.  This exercise will help you focus on you and your journey through life.


 5.       Self-Preserve - You can do little for anyone if you don't take care of self. Remember taking care of self is different from selfishness! Stress over nothing that doesn't involve life or death. Schedule your mental and physical exam, exercise often and eat a balanced diet. Also charity starts at home. Therefore for every dollar you spend on someone else save two for the preservation of your future. If you can't save two dollars than you don't have one dollar for gifts. It's time to re-gift, create and offer blessing. Those who love you will understand.


6.       No Over-Consumption - Nothing feels better than eating and drinking our way to happiness. This approach is also the fastest way to depression. Alcohol is a depressant and overconsumption can lead to abuse, illness and sink you further into a state of holiday blues. Eating excessively leads to weight gain, poor health and fatigue and can make your holiday blues turn into life blues, if you don't exercise self-control.


7.       Laugh- Nothing relieves holiday blues like a simple smile or a good stomach aching laugh. Take in a comedy show, watch comedy on TV or just come to the family function with a few jokes (excluding jokes about family and friends-we want laughing not fighting). Don't take yourself so seriously; all things come to pass in one way or the other. Thus, if we don't laugh we will surely cry.


8.       Adventure - If you've been thinking of swimming, hiking, belly dance, bungee jumping, pole dance, kick boxing, or any activity you dared you would never do - try it while you're feeling blue. What a blues lifting experience than to indulge, concentrate and focus on an activity that you never felt the courage to do? Who has time to think about the blues when you are busy thinking about - safety while you have fun with your new adventure.


9.       Relationships - The power of an intimate, loving, positive emotionally charged, self-fulfilling relationship is extraordinary and can do wonders for lifting holiday blues. Economic struggle, family strife and even grief can be managed when you feel love and desire in your personal life. On the other hand nothing makes the holiday blues feel like holiday nightmares than a stressful, unfulfilled, loveless and sexless relationship. Use the holiday to reflect on your relationship and make hard decisions about the feasibility of remaining in a situation that lacks joy and makes you blue. Yes, it easier said than done.  The demands of children, economics and fear of loneliness can force you to suppress thinking about this aspect of your life. However, the lack of planning can cost you more in the end. Also if you can rid yourself now of the problem that's one less gift to worry about!


 10.       Seek Help - If your holiday blues last more than two weeks, seek professional advice.  Signs that holiday blues have found a way into your day to day functions and made its way straight to the gate of depression are: sleeplessness or sleeping too much, a lack of appetite, inability to concentrate and feeling hopeless.

Dr. Elisa English has worked as a clinician for the past 10 years, having earned her Master's degree in Social Work from Columbia University and a Ph.D in Clinical Social Work with a focus on research, policy and administration from Yeshiva University. She's built a practice that targets issues confronting many of the challenges that plague our society, with the mission of improving people's lives. Dr. Elisa's wit, charismatic personality and messages of social, mental and emotional health have branded her the mental health practitioner of choice. She's been featured on CNN, UPN9, FOX5, Bloomberg News, Voice of America Radio, WBLS-FM, Power 105.1, HOT97.1 (Lisa Evers Show), WBAI-FM, WLIB, Armstrong Williams Show, One Caribbean Radio HD, Black Enterprise Magazine, Sister 2 Sister Magazine, Rolling Out Magazine, NY Amsterdam News,,,, and many others. She is contributor to, a website of Interactive One, as well as the consulting clinician for The Souls of My Sisters book series, an imprint of Kensington Publishing Corp and the consulting clinician to The Souls of My Sisters Radio One venture. Of her well-being campaign, Dr. Elisa says "keep your mind healthy and all else will fall in place.

For media inquiries and interviews with Dr. Elisa English
Please contact Mary L. Moore/So Much Moore Communications or 201-224-6571.


Dr. Elisa English, The "Provocative Doctor" Is In The House

Elisa English

"Beauty is a state of mind.  Keep your mind healthy and all else will fall in place!”

 -- Dr. Elisa English

Dr. Elisa knows all about the critical need for mental strength and self-esteem. The New York native became a mother at the age of 18 and, after the brutal murder of her child’s father; she had to raise her child alone. She was, in her own words, “a child trying to raise a child.” 

She was forced to navigate the treacherous waters of womanhood – and motherhood -- with few if any role models. For the sake of her own survival and the survival of her son, she tapped into a reservoir of strength that she didn’t know she had. She encourages all people to spend more time building those intangible qualities like motivation, determination, focus, drive, wherewithal and self awareness to conquer any challenge.  “I found my way, oddly enough, on my own,” she says. “When people ask me who my role models are, I often say myself.” 

Although Dr. Elisa wasn’t totally without allies and gives her mother a lot of recognition for her unwavering love and support -- but as far as someone to truly nurture her and play an active role in her emotional development, there were limited resources.  In fact, she says, most of the people in her world doomed her to a life of failure after she became pregnant. As she states happens to so many young girls who experience similar circumstances. 

Dr. Elisa decided to use her resiliency and experiences to help not only herself but other young women as well. She went on to earn a Master’s degree in Social Work from Columbia University and a Ph.D in Clinical Social Work with a focus on research, policy and administration from Yeshiva University. Those accomplishments gave her the formal credentials to do what, in her heart, she already knew she was destined to do. 

Working as a clinician for the past 10 years, Dr. Elisa, also known as the Provocative Doctor, has built a practice that targets issues confronting many of the challenges that plague our society from suicide to depression. Her aim is to help people particularly women and young girls expand their inner beauty, strength and confidence. “I think my experiences have helped me to be that friend to many young people, particularly, young women around the country and to my clients,” she says. “I focus on building people particularly women up in a way that they see their worth in society.” 

Dr. Elisa’s approach, though a bit unconventional, is holistic and highly effective. “I do a lot of work around tapping into our inner exquisiteness and strength,” she explains. “As women, we really don’t tap into our inner beauty. We focus on our external beauty as a way to boost our self-confidence. You can have all the external beauty in the world and be a very hurt individual internally.” In her private practice she uses a treatment modality called “Provocative therapy” which is a psychotherapy approach that encourages clients to see and experience the good, joy and happiness in most situations. 

Dr. Elisa is a featured panelist, media favorite, and host community forums and roundtable discussions around the country, with an emphasis on women’s emotional, mental and physical health, self-esteem, confidence and inner beauty.  Dr. Elisa’s infectious smile, wit and charismatic personality have branded her the mental health practitioner of choice. She has been featured in articles, on radio and television and is a talk show radio host that offers advice infused with a strong sense of accountability, and personal responsibility.  Her segments can be heard on One Caribbean Radio HD and Blog Talk Radio. Dr. Elisa is also the consulting Clinician for the Souls of My Sisters Books, which is an imprint of Kensington Publishing Corp and the consulting Clinician to Souls of My Sister Radio One venture. 

Dr. Elisa is a strong anti-violence advocate and supports numerous foundations, program and initiatives. She is the national spokeswoman for “” An organization sponsored in part by entertainment mogul Russell Simmons and is geared toward antiviolence in urban communities around the country. Her commitment and mission to empower people is what contributes to the message in her practice, articles, radio and television programs. She also has a scholarship foundation; The Dr. Elisa, educational fund which is geared toward young people headed toward some form of formal education; as she said “education is what saved her.” 

Her support of children and family issues is legendary. She writes a bimonthly mental health column for “Pretty Hot Chick” magazine. She also writes blogs for, and a host of others. Dr. Elisa is an Assistant professor and teaches courses in various subjects in human and social services including:  Introduction to Psychology and Theories of Personality, and is a former Director-at-Large for the New York City Administration of Children Services (ACS) with a proven track record in leadership, management, development and training. 

Through her company, PD Consultants and Clinical Services, Dr. Elisa focuses on individual group, family and relationship therapy, mental health disorders, life coaching, and quality assurance, organizational leadership, development and integrity testing. “The bigger issue for me is that people understand that the need to stay mentally healthy is extremely important,” she says. “Without a healthy mind, you really can’t function well and you will not find yourself in healthy relationships and situations of any kind.” 

Another division of her enterprise, Provocative Dr. Experience, focuses on physical activity as a way of staying physically fit and conquering fears, anxiety and tapping into one’s inner strength. One of the most effective tools that she employs is a technique known as therapeutic movement, which includes alternative fitness methods and a wellness regimen that builds the body and the mind. In addition to yoga and Pilates, Dr. Elisa uses an array of ‘provocative movements’ including vertical pole fitness, calisthenics, and belly dancing. 

Dr. Elisa says her techniques help women to regain self-esteem that may have been lost during childhood or stolen by some tragic experience. “You need to find ways to get over a tragedy like what I experienced growing up in the 80s and 90s,” says Dr. Elisa, recalling her drug and crime-ridden upbringing in New York.  “All of it has made me stronger on one end but it has also been a way for me to channel my grief and my pain and to heal by helping others.” 

Dr. Elisa is the first to admit that her “provocative movement” techniques are not easily grasped by some. “Sensual movement has been associated with a very erotic side of our society – mostly dealing with women engaged in night life,” she notes. “It’s been very difficult to break down that wall but I have seen a physical and mental transformation in these women when it comes to their confidence and sensuality that supersedes any stereotypes. Dr. Elisa said the issue is “society hasn’t caught up to us, but we do what helps and works”.  After a few sessions with us, her clients feel liberated; they feel stronger.  

Dr. Elisa says clients are encouraged to be self reflective and use self actualization as a way to tap into their ‘inner strength’ in order to transform physically and mentally. She stresses the need for people to understand the difference between sensuality and sexuality. “What they don’t really understand is that sensuality and sexuality are two different things. You can look into someone’s eyes and see their sensuality. Sexuality is more overt.” 

Dr. Elisa says her goal is teach others what she had to learn the hard way. "Beauty is a state of mind,” she says. “How we look on the outside is really part and parcel of how well we feel on the inside both mentally and physically. The better you feel mentally, the more beautiful you look aesthetically. Keep your mind healthy and all else will fall in place.”

To learn more about Dr. Elisa English visit her official web site at and follow her on Twitter at






A Message From The National Cancer Institute

Dr. Ronda Henry-Tillman talks about colorectal cancer and how it affects African Americans.


Serious Talk About Prostate Cancer:  An Interview with Harold P. Freeman, M.D.

Harold P. Freeman, M.D.

Harold P Freeman, M.D., is the President and Founder of The Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention in New York City and Founder of The Harold P. Freeman Patient Navigation Institute. He is also the Senior Advisor to the Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and Director of the NCI Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities. Dr. Freeman is a past National President of the American Cancer Society. He served for 11 years as Chairman of the U.S. President’s Cancer Panel. Dr. Freeman pioneered the Patient Navigation Program.

Dr. Freeman recently took time out of his busy schedule to answer questions for this very important interview.

Black Men In  Dr. Freeman, you are the Senior Advisor to the Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and former Director of the NCI Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities.  What is the number one health risk affecting black men?

Dr. Harold Freeman:  Although the number one health risk affecting black men is smoking related disease such as lung cancer, prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in black men.

Black Men In  What are the risk factors for prostate cancer?

Dr. Harold Freeman:  One of the main risk factors associated with prostate cancer is older age. Men over the age of 65 are more likely to get prostate cancer than younger ages. Changes in the prostate or genetic changes may also increase a man’s risk for prostate cancer. Having a family member such as a father, brother, or son can increase risk as well.

Black Men In  What are the symptoms?

Dr. Harold Freeman:  There are no symptoms associated with early stages of prostate cancer. Some symptoms associated with later stages of prostate cancer mainly include urinary symptoms such as frequent urination, painful urination, trouble urinating or a weak urine flow. Other symptoms include difficulty having an erection, blood in urine or semen, and frequent pain in the back, hips, or legs.

Black Men In  What are the incidence and mortality rates for black men?

Dr. Harold Freeman:  The incidence rate of prostate cancer among African Americans is 232.8per 100,000 men with a mortality rate of 51.1per 100,000 men. These rates are in comparison to an incidence rate of 163.1per 100,000 and a mortality rate of 23.6 per 100,000 for all men regardless of race.

Black Men In  What is some of the latest research on prostate cancer?  

Dr. Harold Freeman:  A recent study conducted by researchers at the National Cancer Institute found that a common genetic variation may be involved in developing prostate cancer. This study was one of the first to explain the biological mechanism underlying the difference in risk among individuals. Information about this study is available at

Black Men In  Why do black men have higher incidence and mortality rates?

Dr. Harold Freeman:  It is not known why African American men have a higher incidence of prostate cancer. It is thought that higher prostate cancer mortality rates among African American men may be mostly due to late diagnosis and treatment.

Black Men In  Where do black men go for additional information on prostate cancer?

Dr. Harold Freeman:  For more information, African American men may visit or call 1-800-4-Cancer to speak with a specialist regarding prostate cancer.  Through the website and phone number, men can order free publications about prostate or other cancers.

Black Men In  What’s the official word on prostate cancer screening?

Dr. Harold Freeman:  There is still some uncertainty regarding prostate cancer screening. Ongoing clinical trials are trying to determine whether prostate cancer screening reduces the number of deaths from this disease. The most important message is that men—and African American men in particular—speak with a physician regarding prostate cancer screening options.

Black Men In  Can you talk about the importance of the NCI’s Patient Navigation Program?

Dr. Harold Freeman:  NCI’s Patient Navigation Program aims to develop interventions to reduce or eliminate cancer health disparities and test their efficacy and cost-effectiveness. Patient navigators eliminate barriers to timely screening, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The principal barriers are: financial (such as lack of insurance); communication barriers; medical system barriers (such as lost results, failure to get timely consultations); and fear, distrust and emotional barriers. This program is important in the quest for standard, equal care for all.

Publisher’s Note:  Thank you James Alexander, of the Multicultural Media Outreach Team of the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Office of Communications and Education, Office of Partnerships and Dissemination Initiatives. 

You can stay current and get the latest updates from the NCI Twitter page located at





  Baltimore’s Soulful Symphony, Conducted by Darin Atwater,

Will Join Wilson’s R&B Sound on September 16

SANTA MONICA, CA, August 23, 2010—The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) today announced a special Charlie Wilson Concert for Prostate Cancer. The concert, including performances by Baltimore’s famed Soulful Symphony conducted by Darin Atwater, will take place on Thursday, September 16, 2010 at 8 p.m. at the Warner Theatre in Washington D.C.  The program is a centerpiece public event of the upcoming Advance on Washington, when the nation’s leading researchers, medical professionals and advocates converge in Washington to discuss the latest developments in prostate cancer and push for more progress in fighting the disease. Prostate cancer is currently the number one men’s health crisis in the U.S., affecting an estimated 2.5 million American men and their families. 

Charlie Wilson, an icon in R&B music, is a prostate cancer survivor and PCF advocate. As the former lead singer for the legendary GAP Band and recipient of two 2010 Grammy nominations for his current CD, Uncle Charlie, Wilson shares his commitment to raising awareness for prostate cancer, early detection, and research to find a cure with every audience he performs for in the U.S. and overseas.

“Charlie’s talent and energy is mobilizing men and their families in the fight against prostate cancer,” commented Dan Zenka, vice president of communications for PCF and a recently diagnosed prostate cancer patient.  “Through his performances and media coverage, his passionate message for men and their families has reached millions. We are grateful to Charlie for his dedication and look forward to his performance in Washington.”

The September 16 performance for prostate cancer will also feature the talents of Darin Atwater and Baltimore’s Soulful Symphony. According to National Public Radio, “Atwater is an unusual voice in the world of classical music. The 39-year-old composer and conductor combines strands of gospel, jazz, R&B and even hip-hop in his orchestral music. In the process, he's redefining what has remained a quintessentially European art form: the symphony orchestra.”

The concert is expected to play to a full house. Tickets for Wilson’s last concert at Washington’s Constitution Hall in April sold out in just a few days. When the Soulful Symphony performs at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's concert halls in Baltimore and near Washington, D.C., it routinely sells out the house.

Concert tickets can be purchased beginning August 25 at the Warner Theatre Box Office, all area Ticketmaster outlets, online at or or Charge By Phone: 800-551-7328.  Ticket prices are $66, $76 and $128, depending on seating location (Ticket prices also subject to applicable fees).  Internet-only ticket presales will be available on Tuesday, August 24, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Password: "foundation" (not case sensitive).

About the Prostate Cancer Foundation

The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is the world’s largest philanthropic source of support for accelerating the world’s most promising research for discovering better treatments and cures for prostate cancer.  Founded in 1993, the PCF has raised nearly $400 million and provided funding to more than 1,500 researchers at nearly 200 institutions worldwide.  PCF advocates for greater awareness of prostate cancer and more efficient investment of governmental research funds for transformational cancer research.  Its efforts have helped produce a 20-fold increase in government funding for prostate cancer.  More information about the PCF can be found at

Contact Information:

Cara Lasala:                                                                     

Senior Public Relations Specialist, Prostate Cancer Foundation

Tel:  310.570.4727              

For Charlie Wilson:

Karen E. Lee,

Juanita K. Stephens


August 15, 2009

This is Charlie, Last Name Wilson and I’m reaching out to our community about prostate cancer.  September is Prostate Cancer Month and a perfect time for me to share some much needed information about this disease. 

During a regular checkup last year, at the insistence of my wife, I was encouraged to take a PSA test.  Much to my surprise, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer.  Because it was an early diagnosis, I was able to research various treatments and select the one that was right for me.  Brachytherapy was the treatment we chose.  Today, I am cancer free. 

During my research on the disease, I learned that 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and that 1 in 3 African American men will be diagnosed.  These numbers were astounding to me.  That’s why I have joined with the Prostate Cancer Foundation to educate the African American community on how important it is that our men get annual physical exams. 

Prostate cancer is not just a man’s disease, it’s a disease that effects our entire family.  That’s why it is equally important for me to reach out to the women in our community.  I’m asking the ladies to please take control and persuade your husbands, fathers, brothers, uncles, grandfathers and

significant others to get yearly checkups which include a PSA test.  My wife took control.  Her insistence paid off and helped save my life.  I encourage all women in the African American community to do the same. 

Enclosed are some “Tips for Prostate Cancer Awareness” that I have compiled, together with the Prostate Cancer Foundation.”  I want my brothers to live long, meaningful and healthy lives. 

For more information please visit my website, and the Prostate Cancer Foundation at

Your attention to this important health issue is appreciated. 


Charlie Wilson 



Charlie Wilson’s Tips for Prostate Cancer Awareness

Understand prostate cancer and talk about it; share what you know with friends and family.

Know your family history and share it with your relatives, sons and grandsons.

Create a family health history document to share at family reunions and holiday celebrations.

Eat a diet low in fat, carbohydrates and processed sugars.

Do not char meats.  Charring creates carcinogens that collect in the prostate and interfere with DNA repair.  Marinate and flip meats on the grill frequently to minimize charring.  Better yet, try stir-frying meats.

Exercise regularly.

Take control of your health and get regular checkups.  Talk to your doctor about a baseline screening (PSA and DRE) when you are 40; develop a schedule of subsequent screenings based on your medical history.

If you don’t have insurance, do your research to learn about free clinics in your community.

Visit for more information or


CW Hats

You can also order "Uncle Charlie" Fedora Hats featuring Charlie's initials "CW" on the right side and a dazzling pattern on the left-all made up of brilliant, shimmering silver gems. Available in 3 colors and 2 sizes. Grab one for every outfit! A portion of the proceeds benefit the Prostate Cancer Foundation Click here to go to Uncle Charlie's store.




Hitting the Gym in Young Adulthood Preventive Measure for African-American Men


Moderate to vigorous exercise during an African-American man’s 20s may reduce his risk of developing prostate cancer, according to a National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study. Researchers found African-American men between the ages of 51 and 72 years of age were less likely to develop prostate cancer within a 7-year period if they were physically active during young adulthood. African-American men who reported at least 4 hours of exercise per week between the ages of 19 and 29 years of age were 35 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer.


These findings suggest physical fitness may be a solid prevention measure for young black men. Researchers report since tumors tend to be different in African-American men, physical activity which influences both immune function and inflammation play a larger role in these tumors.

"The results are really exciting," said Kathleen Y. Wolin, ScD, assistant professor of surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. "We don't have a lot of data on things men can do to prevent prostate cancer, and it's a particular concern in black men, so I think the findings will have intriguing and compelling implications for interventions in the future."

ZEROThe Project to End Prostate Cancer recognizes that maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle helps prevent many diseases, including prostate cancer. ZERO provides several opportunities for men and their families to get active while supporting an important cause through running and endurance events.

Team ZERO is a training program for individuals who wish to participate in races across the country to raise funds for prostate cancer education, screenings and research. This training program matches runners up with the races they'd like to run while helping end prostate cancer. Participating on this team can, in some cases, guarantee you a spot for a competitive run such as a large marathon. ZERO formed its first team for the 2008 Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 26, 2008. In 2009, ZERO has joined forces with the ING New York City Marathon and the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC. Space is still available on Team ZERO for the Marine Corps Marathon on Oct. 25.

ZERO rolled out its Dash for Dad Series aimed at raising awareness and funds toward ending prostate cancer in Alexandria, VA last fall with the first Dash for Dad 10K. More than 650 runners lined up along Eisenhower Avenue for the 2008 race. Help us reach our goal of 1,000 runners in 2009! The Abbot and Depend Dash for Dad 10K will take place Sept. 27, 2009 in Alexandria, VA. All proceeds from this run go to prostate cancer education, PSA testing and research.

For more information about the 2009 Abbot and Depend Dash for Dad 10K, visit

If you're interested in learning more about ZERO’s active events, contact Tracy Amish at



Push for More Funding for Prostate Cancer Research in the African-American Community

by Katie Gorscak, ZERO – The Project to End Prostate Cancer

As discussed in last month’s column, one in four African-American men are at a lifetime risk of prostate cancer. African-Americans are 2.5 times more likely to die from prostate cancer compared to Caucasian men. It is this health disparity that makes education and early detection of prostate cancer even more critical.

According to new figures from the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer will account for 34 percent of new cancer diagnoses in African-American men in 2009. An estimated 27,130 cases of prostate cancer are expected to occur among African-American men in 2009.  

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in African-American men and it is estimated 3,690 African-American men will die of prostate cancer this year. While prostate cancer death rates have declined in recent years due to improved treatment methods and early detection, the disease kills more African-Americans than any other ethnic group in the U.S. 

Tom Ferrington from the Prostate Health Education Network (PHEN) has put together a disparity resolution related to African-American men and prostate cancer and the resolution was introduced by Rep. Gregory Meeks of New York on April 21. The intent of the resolution (H.RES.346) is to formally recognize the occurrence of African-American men has reached epidemic proportions and urges Federal agencies to address that health crisis by designating additional funds for research, education, awareness, outreach and early detection. Congress does not currently fund any program to address this disparity.   

ZERO – The Project to End Prostate Cancer supports PHEN’s efforts to push for the passage of this legislation and encourages you to write your local representative to encourage them to support H.RES.346. Visit ZERO’s Advocacy Center to write a letter to your representative in support of this initiative.


Prostate Cancer’s Impact on the African-American Community

By Katie Gorscak, ZERO – The Project to End Prostate Cancer

Chances are you or someone you know has been touched by prostate cancer. In the United States, one in six men is at a lifetime risk of developing prostate cancer. In the African-American community, prostate cancer has an even larger impact. In fact, one in four African-American men is at a lifetime risk of prostate cancer. This makes an African-American man 2.5 times more likely to die from the disease than Caucasian men.

Prostate cancer is the single most diagnosed non-skin cancer among African-Americans. While cancer death rates are declining, disparities remain and African-American men continue to have lower survival rates than other ethnic groups. An estimated 30,770 African-American men were diagnosed in 2007 alone and approximately 4,240 men died from the disease that year, according to the American Cancer Society. It is critical for African-Americans to become more educated about the disease and its impact on one’s health.

Listed below are some common questions and answers related to prostate cancer.

What is the prostate?

The prostate is a gland involved in the male reproductive system. It is surrounded by other glands, nerves and organs involved in sexual function. It is wrapped around the urethra and helps control the flow of urine. While you can live without a prostate, its location makes prostate cancer difficult to treat. The prostate is about the same size and shape as a walnut and weighs about an ounce.


What is prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer is a common, but typically slow growing cancer when compared to other types of cancer. Its growth is fed by, and generally depends on male hormones. Sometimes cells keep growing beyond their natural lifespan, and can cause a group of cells to swell up into a tumor. Cancer cells can remain in the prostate (local); in its immediate surroundings (regional) or cells can break free, getting into the blood or lymph system and cause cancer to spread to other parts of the body.

What is my risk?

As mentioned earlier, African-Americans are a greater risk of developing prostate cancer. The chances of getting prostate cancer are one in three if you have just one close relative, such as a father or brother, with the disease. The risk is 83 percent with two close relatives and if you have three relatives with the disease, it is almost a certainty at 97 percent that you will develop the disease.

How will I know if I have prostate cancer? What are the symptoms?

There are no noticeable symptoms of prostate cancer, so it is important for African-American men aged 40 or older to get screened annually for prostate cancer. With the widespread use of screening, 83 percent of cases in African-American men are now found early. When the disease is caught in its early stages, nearly 100 percent of men diagnosed are still alive five years after diagnosis. Of African-American men diagnosed in the late stages of the disease, 29 percent survive five years.

Screening for prostate cancer involves a simple blood test and a physical exam. It takes about 10 minutes and is covered by health insurance in many states.

Is there a way to prevent prostate cancer?

While research is still being conducted to determine definitive links between lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise and their ability to prevent prostate cancer, research does show a strong association between obesity, high cholesterol levels and advanced prostate cancer. Men with a body mass index over 32.5 have about one-third greater risk of dying from prostate cancer.

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, there are several treatment options available. For more information about prostate cancer and treatment, visit ZERO-The Project to End Prostate Cancer’s Web site at



The Literati: A Crisis in the Mental Health of Black America

By W. Eric Croomes 

Suicide has always been a hush-hush topic in the African-American community; nothing silences a conversation more suddenly than talk of someone who has taken their own life, whether a family member or friend.  With the publication of Lay My Burden Down, Suicide and the Mental Health Crisis among African-Americans in 2000, the veil of secrecy and inherited shame was lifted and the subject was put out in the public arena.  Its authors, Dr. Alvin F. Poussaint and Amy Alexander, offer a convincing, cogent and relentlessly grievous account as to the myriad reasons so many African-Americans suffer from depression and other mental health issues and how those reasons lay the groundwork for the ultimate act of self-aggression: suicide.  In particular, and certainly disturbing, is the suicidal trend of black males in America, which tripled between the 1980’s and the end of the twentieth-century, according to the authors.  The common element of this trend is the loss of hope, a virtue that historically underpinned the ability of blacks to overcome the legacy of discrimination, segregation and unequal justice.  Says Poussaint and Alexander: “…the realities of modern life have begun to undermine the historic adoptions, the coping strategies that are part of the African-American culture.”  Lay My Burden Down requires the immediate and consistent attention from anybody who senses the urgency of self-destructive behaviors in a family member or friend and is a must-read for policy chieftains, church leaders and grass-roots organizations. 

W. Eric Croomes is a writer based in Irving, Texas and a native of Phoenix, Arizona. Eric is a 1990 graduate of Jarvis Christian College, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Religion and Sociology and has studied theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.  You can learn more about him at his web site and blog listed below:

One Man's Journey:  Bobby Smith Proves That One Man Can Make A Difference

Bobby Smith is Executive Vice President of “Susie’s Cause,” a grass roots organization dedicated to finding a cure for colon cancer.  Black Men In's Gary Johnson caught up with Bobby for this exclusive interview.  What prompted you to get involved with the Colon Cancer foundation? 

Bobby Smith:  I grew up with Susan and was very close to her older sister and her family and I have a great amount of respect for David, her father, the Foundation President.  When I researched and learned that the disease was the second leading cancer killer of men and women and yet 90% preventable, I knew I had to make it happen.  What were you doing before you got involved with Susie’s Cause? 

Bobby Smith:  For the last 10 years I have been President of an international marketing company and doing consulting.  Can you give us a few facts about black men and colon cancer? 

Bobby Smith:  There is a particularly high incidence of Colorectal Cancer in the Black community. In fact, mortality rates for African Americans are the highest out of any racial or ethnic group with Colorectal Cancer – NCI’s SEER Cancer Statistics Review and NCHS public use data file for the Total U.S.).  Tell us about Susie’s Cause? 

Bobby Smith:  Grass roots focused on stopping this disease 90% preventable and helping the patients and families battling it.  Who were some of the people who inspired you? 

Bobby Smith:  Susan/Mike Milken Many of the patients and family members I speak with each day.  I believe that one person can make a difference in the lives of others.  Do you feel that you are making a difference?  

Bobby Smith:  Absolutely!  Every day across all lines of race and gender we are educating people on screening and early detection.  Through our media and various partnerships, like this one, we are reaching millions of people every month.  Through our website, #1 in the world in our industry we are providing valuable information, guidance and support for those in need.  Have you noticed a difference in how the black community reacts when it comes to getting folks out to the doctor to get consistent medical treatment? 

Bobby Smith:  Yes, my personal experience from my black coleagues is that that black women pride themselves on their strength and might not seek treatment immediately and that black men are less inclined to want to visit their primary care physician much less a GI doctor or colorectal surgeon for a colonoscopy.  You’re a very passionate white guy who is very active in educating the black community about the risks of colon cancer.  Has the fact that you are white and male been an obstacle in connecting with people? 

Bobby Smith:  Absolutely not.  The black leaders, like you, that I have spoken with have not only embraced the message, but more important acted upon it immediately.  Perhaps they even appreciate the very fact that we would be so focused on the black population. And I got a lot of soul!  What’s the biggest challenge that you face in educating people about colon cancer? 

Bobby Smith:  The myths: 

That it is a man's disease.  It is an equal killer of men and women. 

The prep for the colonoscopy.  It is one evening of cleaning out your system.  We've all had the flu. If they cannot afford the colonoscopy there are other very advanced tests to detect colon cancer and even genetic testing available. 

The test itself. It's 20 minutes. No pain. You will wake up typically asking when it will begin. 

Most common symptoms.  No symptoms at all! 

It can strike down younger people 10% of the time.  

·         Weight loss

·         Fatigue

·         Rectal bleeding

·         Diarreah

·         Difficulty going to the bathroom

·         Stomach cramping  How do you measure success?  

Bobby Smith:  One person at a time.  How do you measure a life.  Or the pain, the loss of love and guidance to children and grandchildren that 90% of the time should not have happened.  There are enough bad things out there that cannot be prevented.  It seems that you work around the clock for the foundation.  What have you learned since being involved with the Susie’s Cause? 

Bobby Smith:  That great work truly can be blessed.  What’s the biggest health issue concerning black men today? 

Bobby Smith:  I believe in some aspects the same issues that face all men today.  Diet - too many traps and bad patterns.  Exercise - There is no substitute.  Pace - not taking the time to chill and appreciate the good moments in each day. 

There are some myths out there.  My brilliant primary care physician told me many years ago that a great deal of exposure to disease is the fat around the waistline.  Many men fool themselves that because they can still run up and down a court or do whatever they do that they are cool. That because they have no fat on their legs or arms it's OK.  Or the best one, that their gut is solid as a rock.  How can family members help men get tested? 

Bobby Smith:  Whatever it takes.  There are ways to get to a man do what you want- ladies!  And children, guilt works!  What advice do you have for people to maintain good health? 

Bobby Smith:  We lose the weight, exercise, chill out a bit and we do away with most of the most common diseases.  Not only that but when we feel better, our clothes fit better.  We are more proud and confident in ourselves. We sleep better; therefore, we have more energy.  Our work improves, we become better spouses, lovers, parents, and even friends.  We even set an example for our children, co-workers, and members of our church and community.  The greatest joy might even be the sense of accomplishment; because if you can do this, you can do anything.  The price is so small and the rewards are so great, and the journey is exhilarating.

Colorectal Cancer Within The African American Community

“The heart is the only major organ that cancer can not attack”—Susan Cohan Kasdas 

“Where No One Has Gone Before”

Susie’s Cause Works to Understand and Battle The Greater Incidence Of Colorectal Cancer Within The African American Community

“Susie’s Cause” Executive Vice President, Bobby Smith, is honored to begin a long-term partnership with Black Men In  “When I met with Gary Johnson, Founder and Publisher of the company I knew that we had an incredible opportunity to partner in the Foundation's on-going works against Colorectal Cancer.” 

There is a particularly high incidence of Colorectal Cancer in the Black community. In fact, mortality rates for African Americans are the highest out of any racial or ethnic group (out of 100,000 African American Men approximately 34.3% on average are diagnosed per year, out of 100,000 African American Women approximately 24.5% on average are diagnosed per year with Colorectal Cancer – NCI’s SEER Cancer Statistics Review and NCHS public use data file for the Total U.S.). It is important, therefore, for the Foundation to connect with professional associations or organizations that could make an impact through education; thereby preventing the occurrence of this disease.  

Black Men In is exactly the type of group that can make a difference,” says Mr. Smith. “I thank Mr. Johnson for making it possible for me to speak about the Foundation’s work.” Susie’s Cause also looks forward to forging a growing partnership with Gary and his organization to expand its educational programs for this demographic since the need is so great.  “We need to teach about early screening, lifestyle and dietary changes, and try to provide assistance where there may be a financial and emotional need.”  

Learn About Susie’s Cause

Susie’s Story:

 A short time ago, Susan Cohan Kasdas succumbed to a two-year battle with Colon Cancer. Susan was forty-two years old and left behind two beautiful children, a loving family and countless adoring friends. She dreamed of starting a foundation to educate adults of all ages about the dangers of Colon Cancer. She did not want any other families to experience the pain that hers had endured. 

Susan did not live long enough to fulfill her dream, but in recognition of her courage, dignity, and her strong vision, the Susan Cohan Kasdas Foundation, Inc. (Susie’s Cause) was born and began development of its outreach programs in November 2004. 

The Colon Cancer Reality:

Last year alone, over 56,000 people died of Colorectal Cancer. It is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths of men and women in our society.  The numbers are devastatingly sad and are partially due to the lack of comfort about discussing the disease and target organ, the large bowel.  The encouraging truth is that this disease is over 90% curable when detected and treated early.  

Susie’s Cause At Work:

Susie’s Cause is a national grass roots organization headquartered in Baltimore that is rapidly expanding and establishing itself as the voice of Colon Cancer nationally and internationally.  The Foundation is striving to eliminate Colon Cancer as a life threatening disease through the development and the dissemination of educational programs focused on prevention, early screening and detection, and aggressive therapeutic intervention. “This has been a rewarding journey for our Foundation and we are already making a difference in the lives of many”, says Smith. 

Our Programs: 

In 2005, Susie’s Cause launched two programs. “SAVE OUR PARENTS”, educates and stimulates high school and college students to promote early cancer screening amongst their adult families:  

“This interactive educational program is a mini medical school specifically designed for high school students,” says David E. Stein, MD, the Foundation’s Director of Education. “The focus of the program is to provide students a thorough understanding of all aspects of Colorectal Cancer and empower them to educate their parents on the benefits of Colorectal Cancer screening.” 

First, the Foundation educates the teachers through a “Teach the Teachers Program”.  They provide the teachers with literature about Colon Cancer; depending on the scenario they may also provide a small lecture. Then the teachers of the classes participating, typically Senior High and College Students, perform a preliminary lesson on Colon Cancer and the importance of screening with their students. 

 The program is very hands-on. The students that are selected to participate in Save our Parents are provided with a talk on Colon Cancer and screening from a local Gastroenterologist or Colorectal Surgeon. The students then have the opportunity to utilize state-of-the-art equipment and perform cutting edge procedures in the classroom through our ongoing partnership with Olympus.  “It’s pretty amazing, the kids actually perform colonoscopies on fabricated colons, using the same equipment I use at the hospital,” said Dr. Michael Page of the Iowa Clinic during the launch of the program in Des Moines, Iowa this fall. 

 “Our hope is that as the kids learn about the procedure and its importance it will de-stigmatize the concept of colonoscopy and Colorectal Cancer screening”, says Smith. Every student is given take-home literature to discuss with their parents and a questionnaire to bring back to the school so the Foundation can quantify whom they are reaching and the impact of the program overall. “The result, we hope, is that each child will make an emotional contract with their Moms and Dads, Aunts and Uncles, Grandparents, other family members and friends to go and have a screening/colonoscopy,” says Smith.

Most inspiring is making a difference not only in the suburban areas, but in the inner cities themselves e.g. Baltimore, South Florida, Philadelphia, Columbia, and Puerto Rico, much of which have a higher population of African Americans or mixed ethnic groups. Those are the families in need of being educated, so they can get screened early and prevent the disease. The Foundation is making a difference in these communities, and has been asked to return to many of the schools. 

Our “SHARING, CARING and SURVIVING SYMPOSIUM”, provides an on-going support system for patients and families that are battling Colon Cancer. The “SYMPOSIUM” will be brought city to city providing education and comfort via teams of leading medical professionals, institutions and therapists.  

There is much excitement about reaching the masses through the Foundation’s media sponsor COMCAST who has partnered with them nationally and on local levels to support and to introduce their visionary and life altering programs. Susie’s Cause and its programs have been featured via TV spots on CNN Headline News, and have attracted local media attention in many markets as well. 

Future Endeavors:

“Susie’s Cause has accomplished so very much in their first year, reaching many through their programs, media coverage, and industry leading web site.  They have built an impressive Board of Directors.  In their commitment to battle the occurrence of Colon Cancer in 2006, they will be expanding their existing programs even further, while creating new venues to reach the masses.”  We are excited to be a vital part of that expansion says Mr. Johnson. 

Our projects will include: 

v      “Companies That Care About Colon Cancer” will provide cost effective solutions for employees to undergo early screening.                   

v      Create a Primary Care Physician Colorectal Cancer Workshop – In depth education will be provided to the Primary Care Physician on the importance of early screening as prevention.                   

v      Grow the “Save Our Parents” Program with the assistance of professionals/organizations like yourselves, who will help them reach out to schools and colleges all over the country and assist them in making contacts.                   

v      Expand the “Save Our Parents” program with an element that focus’s on using the Internet e.g. E-mail Campaigns, Instant Messaging to reach more family and friends; perhaps create incentives for doing this.                   

v      Build a contact base of Volunteers, Professionals etc to launch Susie’s Cause chapters nationwide.                   

v      Nominate Doctors, medical offices, surgical centers, and hospitals to participate on our board, provide opportunities for research, and support our programs.                   

v      Expand our “Sharing Caring, and Surviving Colon Cancer Symposium” to provide a support network nationally and eventually internationally. 

A very important goal, says Smith, “Is to be opportunistic and align ourselves with strong leaders like Mr. Johnson, those who care about this cause or have been touched by it, that will help us in our journey to battle the disease. This goes beyond the professionals in the field, it reaches into the community and to our children; we must educate to eliminate Colorectal Cancer.”  

In order to reach the next level and continue to bring this program into neighborhoods across the Country we need your help.  Please visit our website for donations to ensure that we reach our goals.  For more information about bringing our programs to your company or your city please email me at  We are always in search of committed individuals of varied backgrounds and expertise to assist us in our Foundation’s works, programs, and chapters.  

Please visit our web site at:

We would like to extend a special thank you to Bobby Smith, Executive Vice President, of Susie's Cause.

Susie’s Cause is a national grass-roots organization headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, that is rapidly expanding and establishing itself as the voice of Colon Cancer nationally and internationally.  The Foundation is striving to eliminate Colon Cancer as a life threatening disease through the development and the dissemination of educational programs focused on prevention, early screening and detection, and aggressive therapeutic intervention.

An Interview with Dr. Marilyn Hughes Gaston and Dr. Gayle K. Porter authors of the book Prime Time:  The African American Woman’s Complete Guide to Midlife Health and Wellness  

This is the first time that this web site has featured a book that has garnered such widespread praise and acclaim as Prime Time:  The African American Woman’s Complete Guide to Midlife Health and Wellness.  Drs. Marilyn Hughes Gaston, M.D and Dr. Gayle K. Porter, Psy.D., have written one of the most comprehensive books on black women’s health.  This book is well written, well researched and flat out inspiring.  When it comes to finding a literature about the health and wellness of black women, this is “One Book” on black women’s health issues.  

The resources and charts throughout the 500 plus pages are invaluable.  The key to this book is that it is “user friendly,” and addresses the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of women.  I believe the utility of this book will save lives.  

As a man, I found the book very informative and gave it to my wife to read.  She read it and purchased additional copies of the book and gave them to her friends as a gift.  They read the book and gave it to their friends as a gift.  Folks, this is a great book.  I’m telling you, I am more knowledgeable and hopefully more sensitive about women’s health issues as a result of reading this book.  

Dr. Maryiln H. Gaston is a former Assistant Surgeon General of the United States who is internationally recognized for her work in combating sickle cell disease.  As a primary care pediatrician with a subspecialty in ambulatory pediatrics, she has devoted her career to serving the underserved.  

Dr. Gayle K. Porter is a licensed clinical psychologist.  She is currently a Principal Research Analyst and a Senior Mental Health Advisor for the Technical Assistance Partnership (TAP) of The American Institutes for Research.  Dr. Porter has served on the faculties of Johns Hopkins’ Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Department and Howard University .  

Both doctors have a lifelong commitment to black women’s health and wellness and happily agreed to be interviewed for this web site.  We hope that after reading this interview you will be inspired to purchase their book and read it.  You should then share what you’ve learned with the important people in your life.  

For more on these two fabulous ladies and their work, read our interview with them below:  

Interview with Dr. Marilyn Hughes Gaston and Dr. Gayle K. Porter authors of the book Prime Time:  The African American Woman’s Complete Guide to Midlife Health and Wellness  How did you two meet and what motivated you to write a book like this?  

Drs. Gaston and Porter:  We have been friends for 25 years and met initially around our shared interest in sickle cell disease.  We were motivated to write the book because of our mutual interest and concern about the physical and emotional health of African American women. We both have been outraged with the disparities we have watched over the years (Dr. Gaston as a physician and Dr. Porter as a clinical psychologist) and decided to write the book to assist women make important lifestyle changes to save their own lives.  We knew that we needed a revolution to change the status of our health.  How long did it take you to write the book?  

Drs. Gaston and Porter:  It took us 4 years to research, hold focus groups, conduct surveys, and write the book.  Who were some of the people who inspired you?  

Drs. Gaston and Porter:  The people who inspired us were first and foremost the women in our personal lives, our mothers, and extended family members, friends and then the women with whom we came in contact over the years as we lectured and held workshops - especially the women we interviewed in the focus groups before we wrote the book.  How much of your personal life is reflected in your work?  

Drs. Gaston and Porter:  A great deal of our personal life is reflected in our work.  Our personal health stories are included throughout the book and also our personalities are reflected in it - our spirituality, our humor, our love for people (see the women's stories) and our belief that we can change these statistics and eliminate the disparities.  How does it feel to see your book getting such great reviews?  

Drs. Gaston and Porter:  It feels great to receive the reviews - especially the recent ESSENCE recognition. However, we feel even better when the women themselves tell us how the book has changed their lives.  e.g. "This book has given me an epiphany", "This book is my Bible", "I have two books on my nightstand - The Bible and Prime Time."  We feel very privileged and blessed by God to have the opportunity to make such a difference in the lives of our sisters.  Did you make a conscious decision to give the book a “spiritual flavor” or is that just my interpretation?  

Drs. Gaston and Porter:  We made a conscious decision to have a "spiritual flavor" because we know that wellness and wholeness exists when physical health, emotional health and spiritual health are integrated.  Please visit our website: to see our logo which speaks to this fact.  The data are accumulating which document that spiritual wellness is a very important part of our over-all health.  The importance of prayer and its impact on our health should be unquestioned at this point.  The data show that living a spiritual life decreases deaths by at least 30% and maybe the percentage is greater.
We hope all readers understand the importance of spiritual health from the book and begin to focus on this aspect of their lives.  Why did you focus a lot of attention on the mental health perspective, especially the spiritual side?  

Drs. Gaston and Porter:  We focused on the mental health perspective for the following and above reasons.  The mind-body connection is too powerful to be ignored.  Stress, Depression, Anxiety all can cause and are caused by clear physical and chronic diseases - heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, stroke, and on and on.  Does the title of the book, “Prime Time” have any special meaning or significance?  

Drs. Gaston and Porter:  The title Prime Time definitely has significance.  The book is specifically targeted at women in mid-life - the years 40-70.  These years are when we are all in our "prime."  This time of life is not to be viewed and lived negatively and feared because we are aging.  It is indeed our "prime time" a time of growth, change, transformation, a time to make mid-course corrections.   It's truly the best time of our lives to be appreciated, thankful, and treasured and seen as wondrous.  We wrote a book for these years to help women make important changes and transform their health and wellness.

However, younger women are telling us they need the book to get ready for "prime time", and older women are using it because as the Delaney sisters taught us - it is never too late.  In addition, men are buying the book in great numbers for themselves.  Was it difficult to write this book?  

Drs. Gaston and Porter:  It was difficult to write the book because both of us were employed with very demanding jobs (Marilyn as Assistant Surgeon General in the US Public Health Service and Gayle as Director of a major community based program at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and counselor at Howard University ).  However, we were able to successfully complete the book because of our passion for the topic and we know we are on a mission from God to get this word out.  What do you want people to “take away” after reading your book?  

Drs. Gaston and Porter:  We want the "takeaway message" from the book to be the fact that our health is in crisis now and urgently needs our immediate attention and action.  Women must stop putting the needs of everyone else before their own and begin to prioritize first taking care of themselves.  The good news of the book is that through our own actions as outlined we can decrease the outrageous disparities in our health and improve our individual and collective health and wellness as African Americans.  Who are your favorite authors?  

Drs. Gaston and Porter:  Our favorite authors are Zora Neale Hurston bell hooks, Toni Morrison,  Iyanla Vanzant, Shakespeare, Renita Weems.  How did you get your current book deal?   

Drs. Gaston and Porter:  We received our current book deal through a wonderful agent (Victoria Sanders in NY) of whom we were informed by Faye Williams owner of the bookstore, Sisterspace, in Washington, DC the only bookstore dedicated solely to African American women.  An African American female editor at Random House Publishing loved our proposal and the mission and understood when we stated we wanted to create a "revolution" around our health.  What has been your most significant life lesson to date?  

Drs. Gaston and Porter:  Our most significant life lesson to date is that if we are to truly honor the God within us we must implement daily programs of thoughts and behaviors that help us develop our physical, emotional and spiritual lives.  What would “pearls of wisdom” would you share with new writers?  

Drs. Gaston and Porter:  Our "pearls of wisdom" for new writers are to be clear about why and what you are choosing to write and passionate about the purpose.  Be disciplined and stay focused.  Build in breaks to renew and rejuvenate and then get back on task.  What is the biggest health issue concerning black women and black men today?  

Drs. Gaston and Porter:  The biggest health issue concerning black women is the fact that we are dying at rates that are greater than any other group of women in the Nation and our rates of stress and depression, and anxiety are also greater than other women.  And the combination is compromising our ability to lead lives that are truly healthy and fulfilling.  The reasons for these disparities in our health outcomes are multi-factorial: our lifestyle i.e. our lack of attention to living lives of disease prevention and health promotion, our lack of access to quality health care, our levels of poverty, the problems in the health care system itself - the racism, sexism, inadequate African American health care providers, inadequate cultural competence to mention some of the contributors.  Are there aspects of the book that men should take note of, especially if their wives or girlfriends are approaching or going through menopause?  

Drs. Gaston and Porter:  Men should first and foremost read the book to incorporate the knowledge and advice contained therein for themselves. The risk factors for heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, stress are the same for men and the strategies to reduce the risks are the same.  So, men should incorporate the same behaviors for change as women.
In addition, men can also learn about the women in their lives from the book especially to help women take better care of themselves.  What advice do you have for people to maintain good health?  

Drs. Gaston and Porter:  The advice for everyone to maintain good health is to make good health their number one priority on a daily basis - every day, every hour.  It takes focus and attention and commitment.  We must develop daily habits of good health - and practice them from the moment we wake up to the time we go to bed.  Habits that focus us on stress management  throughout the day, sound nutrition,  exercise routines to strengthen our heart, muscles, bones every day, and spiritual time throughout the day.  Habits to reduce our specific risks for disease and continually strive to move along the continuum toward better health and wellness.

It is also our responsibility to teach our future generations how to take care of themselves and how to live daily lives of prevention, health and wellness so our families and communities will become healthier and happier.    

Click on the link below the book cover to buy the book.

Special thanks to Tammy Richards of Richard’s Public Relations for arranging this interview.


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