CLEVELAND — There is a huge problem and disconnect when it comes to minorities and health. African-Americans have a life expectancy seven years shorter than white Americans.
One local doctor has taken a challenge from his father to make sure everyone gets a checkup, to make Northeast Ohio A Better Land.
Dr. Charles Modlin, a Cleveland Clinic urologist, said his father expected him to cure problems with awareness. He leads thousands to health literacy with his annual free screenings at the Minority Men’s Health Fair. This is the 17th year for the fair.
"Black men have almost twice the incidence of prostate cancer, twice the death rate from prostate cancer,” Modlin said. “Higher rates of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension.”
Every year, someone learns something about their health.
“I didn't think anything was going to be wrong,” said Cedric Richardson – a friend pushed him to go to get screened. “I used to be a health care executive, so you'd think I would know better."
Doctors at the fair told him he has type two diabetes.
"We used the term sugar- my sugar was high," Richardson said.
African-Americans and Mexican-Americans have a higher risk for the deadly disease. The same is true for cancer.
According to the American Public Health Association, it goes beyond genetics. Sometimes it's behavioral, environmental, even socioeconomic.
Diagnosing some black men's absence in doctor's offices is complex as it is sickening.
“My father used to always tell me: no-one cares about black men,” Modlin said. “Don't want to show signs of weakness. You don't go to the doctor until you're hurting."
Reverend Frederick Kennedy wasn't hurting eight years ago when he showed up to a Minority Men’s Health Fair. Word of mouth ushered him there.
"Our prayer was to remove all signs of cancer,” he said.
Doctors put him on chemotherapy the following week for prostate cancer.
“Thank you for saving my life,” Kennedy said to Modlin.
The free Minority Men’s Health Fair is on April 11. The start time is 5:30 p.m. and runs through 8:30 p.m. There are four locations: Cleveland Clinic's main campus, Lutheran Hospital, Lorain Family Health Center and Akron General.