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Improving health among Black men in rural South Carolina

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) states men are expected to live nearly six years less than women. Heart disease, cancer, COVID-19, accidents, and stroke are the five leading causes of death among men.

  • There were 4,470 prostate cancer diagnoses among men in 2020 according to South Carolina Men’s Health Network.
  • Men are four times as likely to commit suicide than women.
  • Black men living in rural areas have the lowest life expectancy in the U.S.
  • 15% of S.C. women married to men the same age as themselves will be widows as they enter retirement.

The breakdown

Diseases that disproportionately impact men, like heart disease and cancer, are preventable through regular doctor’s visits and healthy lifestyle choices. But men are often considered hard to reach or engage due to treatment stigmas and health-related masculinity stereotypes.

  • Cleveland Clinic found that 63% minority men do not get regular health screenings.
  • CDC states women are 100% more likely to visit the doctor for annual examinations and preventative health care than men.
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS) survey states Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander men were less likely to experience good communication with their doctor than men from other racial and/or ethnic backgrounds.

The solution

Health care services and programs designed for men may be more appealing, engaging, and effective for promoting men’s health. Assistant Professor and Co-Director, Smart Start Nursing Program Demetrius Abshire is evaluating the impact of two health programs, Game Day Ready and Walking and Health Education, which are tailored for Black men in rural South Carolina.  

“Initiatives incorporating athletic activities are becoming increasingly popular and show health improvements. Similarly, initiatives in settings where men naturally congregate with other men have also been shown to be effective in supporting mental and physical health.”

Demetrius Abshire

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.