Saint Francis Care and the Urban League of Greater Hartford Partner to Create a New Space to Address Healthcare Disparities

The Urban League Is the New Home of The Saint Francis Center for Health Equity and the Curtis D. Robinson Men’s Health Institute 

(Hartford, Conn. January 15, 2013)  Today marks the beginning of a unique partnership between the Saint Francis Center for Health Equity (CHE), the Curtis D. Robinson Men’s Health Institute (CDRMHI) and the Urban League of Greater Hartford, and to introduce CHE as a leading model for addressing health disparities. 

Nearly 5,400 square feet of space at the Urban League headquarters at 140 Woodland Street in Hartford has been renovated at a cost of $813,000 to accommodate space for the Center for Health Equity and the Curtis D. Robinson Men’s Health Institute at the Urban League facility.

The Center will consist of administrative offices, consultation rooms, and a conference center where focus groups and community education will take place.  Here, the Center will invite the voices of the community on all topics concerning health; and ideas to address inequities will be raised, cultivated and promoted for action by the Saint Francis health equity team.

CHE’s mission is to develop activities to support research, education and outreach agendas, with a focus on both patients and caregivers.

The Saint Francis Center for Health Equity, evolved as a result of the Curtis D. Robinson Men’s Health Institute and other Saint Francis diversity initiatives, dedicated to reducing healthcare disparities and developing cultural competence among healthcare providers.  “CHE and the CDRMHI will work collaboratively with all Saint Francis Care entities, service lines, and support platforms to improve the health of our most vulnerable populations, as well as work toward improving cultural competence throughout the organization,” said Marcus M. McKinney, D.Min., LPC, Vice President, Community Health Equity and Health Policy at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center.

“Saint Francis is proud to launch the Center for Health Equity and have our Curtis D. Robinson Men’s Health Institute together with our partners at the Urban League of Greater Hartford,” said Christopher M. Dadlez, President and CEO, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center.  “This initiative will help address the racial disparity of care that exists in the treatment of prostate cancer.  We are thrilled to take on this challenge to eradicate disparity,” added Dadlez. 

“We are honored to have our longtime friends and neighbors at Saint Francis now join us in our facility as we continue the challenge of confronting key illnesses and cultural disconnects impacting high-risk populations.  Together, we can utilize the tools of community education, awareness, policy, research and advocacy to eliminate health disparities and empower those affected to make healthy lifestyle and care management choices,” said Adrienne W. Cochrane, J.D., President and CEO, Urban League of Greater Hartford.

The mission of the Curtis D. Robinson Men’s Health Institute began in 2010 thanks to the generosity of Curtis D. Robinson, a prostate cancer survivor and founder of the Institute

Since its inception three years ago, CDRMHI has reached thousands of men and women with its message, specifically providing prostate education to 1137 men, conducting 878 PSAs and 639 digital rectal exams.  This outreach has resulted in 121 follow-up appointments, 32 biopsies, and treatment for 26 men diagnosed with prostate cancer.

“I am proud to see that in just a few years how far we have come in the fight against prostate cancer.  I began this effort because I did not want to see another African-American man die from this disease because he has no money to pay for adequate healthcare,” said Curtis D. Robinson.  “This partnership with the Urban League of Greater Hartford will help to further solidify our commitment to bridging the gap of racial disparities,” added Robinson.

In November of 2010, Tuskegee University, one of America's most distinguished, historically black universities, and the Curtis D. Robinson Men's Health Institute at Saint Francis, entered into an historic partnership.  Research teams are currently studying African-American prostate biopsies provided by screenings conducted by the Men’s Health Institute in order to identify biomarkers relating to prostate cancer.  The identification of these biomarkers will be an important step toward the development of effective means for preventing prostate cancer and may even point the way to a cure.

About the Urban League of Greater Hartford
The Urban League of Greater Hartford, Inc., an affiliate of the National Urban League, is a community based, non-profit 501(c)3 founded in 1964 .  As one of the largest direct social services agencies in New England, annually the Urban League provides services to approximately 3,000 very low to moderate income, primarily minority, residents of Connecticut’s Greater Hartford Region.  The Urban League provides programs and initiatives in the areas of Education and Youth; Workforce Development and Training; and Economic Enrichment.   Through these programs and initiatives, participants advance in education; improve employment skills; develop careers in high demand and growth industries; and learn how to manage and strengthen personal finances to build and maintain financial assets such as homeownership.

About the Curtis D. Robinson Men’s Health Institute
Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center established the Curtis D. Robinson Men’s Health Institute (CDRMHI) to address the racial disparities in Men’s Health, particularly in the areas of patient education, early diagnosis and appropriate treatment of African American and all men at risk for prostate cancer.

This project was initiated in January of 2010, with major funding provided by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and Hospital Board Member and African American prostate cancer survivor, Curtis D. Robinson.

About Saint Francis Care
Saint Francis Care is an integrated healthcare delivery system established by Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, an anchor institution in north central Connecticut since 1897.  Licensed for 617 beds and 65 bassinets, it is a major teaching hospital and the largest Catholic hospital in New England.  Other major entities of Saint Francis Care include The Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital, the Connecticut Joint Replacement Institute, the Hoffman Heart and Vascular Institute of Connecticut, the Saint Francis/Mount Sinai Regional Cancer Center, and the Joyce D. and Andrew J. Mandell Center for Comprehensive Multiple Sclerosis Care and Neuroscience Research.  It services are supported by a network of five major Access Centers and eight additional medical office centers sited throughout the region.  For more information, visit