(HARTFORD, Conn.) - The Curtis D. Robinson Men's Health Institute (CDRMHI) at Saint Francis is taking a 'swing' at beating prostate cancer by hosting its first Annual Celebrity Golf Classic.
The golf tournament is being held Thursday, August 5, 2010, at the Tunxis Plantation Country Club in Farmington, Connecticut, beginning with registration and breakfast at 7:00 a.m.
Celebrities playing in the golf tournament include singer, song-writer and actor Clifton Davis; two-time former NFL Superbowl champion Richard Blackmore, and former NBA player Chris Smith.
Dr. Ben Carson, professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery and pediatrics director, division of pediatric neurosurgery and co-director, the Johns Hopkins Craniofacial Center, will be the keynote speaker for the luncheon. A prostate cancer survivor, he will also sign copies of his two books, "Gifted Hands" and "Think Big."
More than 100 golfers are expected to play in the tournament to support the Institute and create awareness about prostate cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer found in African-American men. ACS research reports that African-American men are twice as likely to develop the disease in their early 50's and die from its effects as Caucasian men. About 1 in 4 African-American men will experience prostate cancer during their lifetimes.
The Men's Health Institute's mission is to provide education and early detection of prostate cancer through free, private screenings to uninsured and underinsured men, with a particular focus on African-American men, where the disparities of care are the greatest.
Its three founders, Curtis D. Robinson, Jeffrey Steinberg, M.D. chairman of surgery at Saint Francis, and Marcus McKinney, D. Min., LPC, director of pastoral counseling at Saint Francis, have combined their expertise, community connections, and passion for addressing the underserved medical needs of the community in the mission of the Institute.
The program is made possible in part thanks to a generous $1 million dollar contribution by Curtis D. Robinson, a member of the Saint Francis Board of Directors and a prostate cancer survivor himself. "I don't want to see anymore African-American men dying from prostate cancer because they don't have health insurance or can't afford to pay the cost for medical treatment," said Robinson. "As a prostate cancer survivor, I am blessed to have the necessary medical insurance and means to get treatment. For so many, this is not the case. This golf tournament sends a message to communities, businesses, faith-based institutions and corporate America that this is an issue we shouldn't ignore," added Robinson.
The Institute is also supported by a $472,533 grant from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.
Since its February, 2010, launch, the Institute has been educating men and their families about prostate health - providing on-site PSA tests and digital rectal exams for free.
"The screenings we have done so far have really been a great benefit to underserved men who otherwise would not be tested when prostate cancer is in its earliest and most treatable stages," said Jeffrey Steinberg, M.D., Chairman of Saint Francis' Department of Surgery, a practicing urologist and the Medical Director of the Institute. "We can't tell African-American men to wait until they are fifty years old to get checked. By then it may be too late. We encourage the men in this demographic to get checked at forty."
"We go to churches, mosques, community recreation centers, barber shops and mom-and-pop stores," said Kashifa Coleman, Community Outreach Coordinator for CDRMHI. "We go where the men are to spread the word about prostate cancer and the importance of getting checked. Since February of this year we have reached over 625 people; we've tested hundreds for prostate cancer. Thanks to our efforts, we have saved the lives of a number of men who were at risk with higher-than-normal PSAs," added Coleman.
Should prostate cancer be diagnosed through the Institute's outreach program and surgery is necessary, access to minimally invasive treatment options, such as the da Vinci® Robotic Surgical System,® are available to minimize potential negative side effects of treatment.
Founded in 1897, Saint Francis is a major teaching hospital licensed for 617 acute inpatient beds and 65 bassinets. It is the largest Catholic hospital in New England.