Tuskegee University Partners with Men’s Health Institute for Prostate Cancer Research, Solutions

11/4/2010

TUSKEGEE, Ala. (November 4, 2010) — The Tuskegee University Cancer Research Program is partnering with the Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center/Curtis D. Robinson Men's Health Institute of Hartford, Conn., in hopes of combating and reducing prostate cancer incidence and mortality rates among black men. Representatives from all entities will meet to sign the official Memorandum of Understanding on Nov. 8.

"The significance of this partnership is historic.  To establish a partnership between a historically black university in the South and a major hospital and health institute in the northern region of the United States to combat prostate cancer will have a great impact on the health outcomes in African-American men," said Roberta M. Troy, Interim Provost at Tuskegee University.  "I envision that this partnership will serve as a model for the development of other initiatives throughout the United States and ultimately will serve as an impetus to have a national strategy to reduce and/or eliminate cancer health disparities."

The Tuskegee program has previously had only random samples for its research, never really finding the exact answers as to why black men are plagued with prostate cancer at such alarming rates. The new partnership will allow Tuskegee to receive tissue from the surgeries black men have at Saint Francis. Robinson's institute provides funds for check-ups, operations and post-operation follow-up for the rest of the patients' lives.

"The partnership with Tuskegee University is monumental," said Curtis D. Robinson, a prostate cancer survivor who donated $1.1 million to launch the institute in February. "The opportunity to make history gives me tremendous pride. As a boy who grew up in segregated Birmingham, Ala., I never would have thought I would see a day like today. With this partnership to actively find a cure for prostate cancer, we are not only on the verge of saving the lives of African-American men, but men from around the world. We are helping to save humanity."

The Center has extensive experience in the development and implementation of effective cancer partnerships, such as the Morehouse School of Medicine/Tuskegee University/University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center (MSM/TU/UABCCC) Partnership and the Pittsburgh Tuskegee Prostate Training Program. These partnerships focus on developing comprehensive programs and supportive resource cores aimed at understanding the reasons behind cancer health disparities and their impact on racial, ethnic, and socio-economically disadvantaged populations.

"I feel honored being a part of this historical event, which is bringing together caring and devoted institutions with a sincere desire to make a real difference in the lives of African-American men facing prostate cancer," said Dr. Timothy Turner, Deputy Director of Research and Training at the Tuskegee University National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care. "We are joining forces because the lives of these men are not only important us, but to the well-being of their families, communities, and county. "

Special lectures focusing on entrepreneurship and pathways to medical school will be held at Monday at 2-4 p.m. in the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center Auditorium. Robinson, along with Saint Francis personnel Dr. Jeffery Steinberg (chief of surgery) and Dr. Mark McKinney (director of pastoral counseling) will facilitate. This event is free and open to the public.

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