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SWFL Event Aims to Get the Black Community Talking About Health

100 Black Men of SWFL Facebook Page
Members of 100 Black Men of SWFL during a meeting in 2017.

An event this Saturday in Fort Myers aims to break down the barriers that prevent black men from seeking health care. 

Lee Health has partnered with the Southwest Florida chapter of 100 Black Men of America to create a health and wellness forum that will encourage black men to talk about health.

100 Black Men is a national civic organization that started back in 1963 that aims to educate and empower African American communities.

Fred Morgan is president of the local chapter. He said health isn’t a popular subject in the black community.

"We wanted to start conversations with men about  their health because they don’t talk about it," Morgan said. "Because of the fear, because of the cost and because of the stigmas."

To help combat those stigmas, Morgan’s organization and Lee Health created workshops to provide information about diabetes, high blood pressure , cardiovascular disease and HIV infections — all conditions that Morgan said black people are at high risk for.

Karen Krieger is the director of community affairs for Lee Health. She said community events provide a unique opportunity to hear directly from the people about the barriers they face that prevent them from seeking healthcare.  

"We can learn even better what communities need specifically," Krieger said. 

The event will be held this upcoming Saturday, March 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Dunbar Community School.

In addition to the workshops, attendees will hear from local community leaders and share their experiences with healthcare and also get information about available medical resources.

Andrea Perdomo is a reporter for WGCU News. She started her career in public radio as an intern for the Miami-based NPR station, WLRN. Andrea graduated from Florida International University, where she was a contributing writer for the student-run newspaper, The Panther Press, and was also a member of the university's Society of Professional Journalists chapter.