By Stephanye R. Clarke
When I saw the title of the article, I immediately thought of the men in my life, from my father who passed away when he was 52, to my uncles and cousins, my friends and the men I consider brothers, mentors, spiritual leaders, nephews and sons. To read that black men have the lowest life expectancy of “any major demographic group in the United States” is mind-boggling and unacceptable. I am invested in doing everything I possibly can to improve this abysmal life-expectancy prediction. But in order to do something, I need to understand how things got to this point.
Kenn Harris, Project Director for New Haven Healthy Start and co-author of the report, says a major cause for the disparate life expectancy is a disconnection between the health care system and young black men that results in their living shorter lives. The report argues that traditional medical models may not be equipped to properly address the experiences and traumas of young black men. New Haven Healthy Start is doing something about it—in addition to their traditional focus on maternal and child health, they are expanding to meet the needs of men of color throughout New Haven through the Men’s Consortium and other outreach designed to get men of color connected and into care.
During the panel discussion at our Reform to Transform forum in October 2014, Lorenzo Jones, Executive Director of A Better Way Foundation, mentioned that all policies are health policy because of how they impact health.
To that end, the full report also recommends increased funding for public health and social service programs as a way to reduce, if not eliminate health and life expectancy disparities.
At our next Reform to Transform event, we will explore addressing the social determinants of health and clinical care as a way to improve Connecticut’s health. If you’re as invested as I am, click on the flyer below and register. See you there!
P.S. No stock photos were used in the image accompanying this blogpost. VERY special thanks to my friends who shared photos with me.