Institutes Collaborate to find a Cure for Prostate Cancer among African-American Men

(Hartford, Conn.)The Curtis D. Robinson Men’s Health Institute (CDRMHI) at Saint Francis signed a memorandum of understanding today with the Tuskegee University Cancer Research Program. The MOU validates a unique collaboration between both Institutes to conduct groundbreaking studies in the fight against prostate cancer and the disproportionate mortality rate among African-American men.

“This partnership is a leading-edge, very novel approach to finding a cure for prostate cancer,” said Jeffrey Steinberg, M.D., Senior Vice President for Health Policy and Disparity at Saint Francis and the Medical Director of the Curtis D Robinson Men’s Health Institute. “We’re creating a research relationship with Tuskegee University and providing them with necessary materials to conduct research to further their understanding of how prostate cancer is passed on in African-American men and also to predict which cancers will be more aggressive,” added Steinberg.

This program launches an initiative between an HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) and the largest Catholic hospital in New England to come together to aggressively address the issues of health disparities among African-American men nationwide. The collaboration will include scientific research, testing and discovery towards finding a cure for prostate cancer.

“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, Founding Director of the Health Disparities Institute for Research and Education (HDIRE).

“The partnership with Tuskegee University is groundbreaking,” said Curtis D. Robinson, charter benefactor of the Men’s Health Institute. “The opportunity to make history gives me tremendous pride. As a boy who grew up in segregated Birmingham, Alabama, 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 serving humanity,” added Robinson.

The Tuskegee program has previously had only random samples for its research. The new partnership will allow the University to routinely receive prostate cancer tissue from African-American men participating in the Men’s Health Institute.

“We are pleased to be working with such a prestigious institution as Tuskegee University,” said Christopher M. Dadlez, Saint Francis’ President and Chief Executive Officer. “This partnership holds great potential for addressing the prevalence of prostate cancer in the African-American community.”

The partnership will also engage the national community in a faith-based outreach and educational social marketing-campaign to reach a demographic that has been long ignored when it comes to adequate and up-to-the-minute information that specifically impacts African-American men.

The Men’s Health Institute was launched in February, 2010, to address the prevalence and disparities of prostate cancer among men who are uninsured and underinsured, particularly African-American men.

To date, The Men’s Health Institute has reached over nine hundred individuals through educational presentations, screenings and/or testing events. A total of 484 PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) screening tests and 392 DREs (Digital Rectal Exams) have been performed to date.

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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. For more information on Saint Francis, go to

The Curtis D. Robinson Men’s Health Institute (CDRMHI) at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, Conn., was established in direct response to the overwhelming number of African-American men in the community who were dying unnecessarily from prostate cancer because they had no health insurance or were under-insured. Philanthropist and entrepreneur Curtis D. Robinson, a prostate cancer survivor, was impassioned about the need to establish a men’s health institute that would specifically address the needs of health disparities among minorities, the poor and underprivileged. He donated $1 million to establish the Men’s Health Institute. Securing an additional $472,000 from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, the CDRMHI provides community-based prostate cancer education, screening, biopsies, surgery and postoperative treatment at no cost to any man in need of financial support.

Founded on July 4, 1881 by its first president, Dr. Booker T. Washington, this HBCU has a 130-year legacy of leadership and research. Tuskegee’s renowned researcher, Dr. George Washington Carver, is regarded as one of the world’s foremost scientists in the history of agriculture and natural sciences. With academic distinction in the sciences, architecture, business, engineering, and health, Tuskegee University has the nation’s first National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care located on an HBCU campus. The center is devoted to engaging in the exploration of core moral issues which underlie research and medical treatment of African-Americans and other underserved populations.

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