Actor Morgan Freeman Urges Men to Take Better Care of Their Health

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Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman speaks out to encourage men, particularly those who are poor and underserved, to schedule routine visits to their doctor.

Actor Morgan Freeman is using his voice to urge men across the country to get regular check-ups and health screenings. Freeman has recorded five radio public service announcements for the Men's Health Initiative, a program of the National Center for Primary Care at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia.

Freeman is originally from the Mississippi Delta. It is there, in Clarksdale, Mississippi that one of the six Men's Health Initiative learning laboratories is working to help underserved, uninsured and underinsured men, particularly those of color, receive quality health care throughout an impoverished four county area. Statistically, men of color are overall less likely to have health insurance, less likely to have access to health care and are more likely to receive inadequate care compared to White men. They are also more likely to die of illnesses such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. These men are not just numbers or statistics; each is someone’s father, brother or son. Each is a victim of a health care crisis that has begun to strong-arm minority men and men of color.

The Initiative began in the summer of 2001 through funding by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. It works to inform changes in policy at the local level by raising awareness and painting a picture of the plight of poor men and men of color. It also seeks to empower those living in those communities by urging them to become active participants in helping design healthcare systems that will suit their needs.

In 2000 the city of Baltimore opened the country’s first Men's Health Center, providing full-service primary care to uninsured males between the ages of 19 and 64. The Baltimore and Clarksdale learning laboratories are joined by labs in Denver, Boston, Miami and Atlanta.

In 2003 actor Danny Glover participated in the launch of our first national media campaign. He did a series of public service announcements for both radio and television to raise awareness of both the crisis in men's health and in the work being done at our national learning laboratories.

Each learning laboratory in the Men's Health Initiative is working to close the gap in health disparities among poor men, often the working poor by providing a means for those who are ineligible for insurance or other comprehensive health coverage under current private, local and federal systems with programs through which they receive quality, affordable or free healthcare, including oral and mental healthcare.

Since the Initiative's inception, numerous men's health policy briefs and articles have been prepared to foster learning and to make recommendations for change. The Men's Health Initiative is supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

To learn more about the Men's Health Initiative please visit http://www.communityvoices.org or contact Community Voices national headquarters at the National Center for Primary Care at Morehouse School of Medicine at (404) 756-8914.

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