African American Leadership

This team was convened in 1998 by the Health Project, with health providers from the local hospitals, area dentists, health and human service agency representatives, and community and faith-based organizations to identify and address health disparities. The group began by hosting and facilitating health fairs that provided screenings for prostate cancer, diabetes, cholesterol, blood pressure and dental.

This team hosted the 7th Annual African-American Conference on Diabetes on November 6, 2010 at Muskegon Heights High School. An average of 450 people have attended this conference annually since 2004. The goal of the conference is to facilitate health promotion and disease intervention in adult African-Americans with diabetes or “at risk” for diabetes, living in Muskegon, Ottawa, Oceana and surrounding counties. The conference features a keynote speaker, refreshments and a luncheon, health screenings, educational workshops and informational displays throughout the day. In addition to diabetes, they address culture-specific and culturally sensitive health concerns of the African-American community; such as obesity, physical activity, cholesterol and hypertension. Contributors include representatives from health equipment, supply and service vendors, two local FQHCs, pharmacies, podiatrists, optometrists and other specialty care clinical practices.

The MCHP and the African-American Leadership Team also have coordinated a prostate cancer screening day in February since 2004 for African-American men. The 7th Annual African-American Men’s Health Fair took place on February 5, 2011. At each event, volunteer physicians and professionals from both hospitals have screened over 100 men who do not regularly go to a physician. Participants are screened for diabetes and hypertension, and referred to primary care providers and other health services, as appropriate.