UMSL’s College of Nursing will sponsor the 5th annual African American Nursing Conference Feb. 24 at the Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel. The conference will focus on minority health issues. (Photo by August Jennewein)

The numbers are bleak when it comes to African-American men and cancer. Black men account for the highest rate of new cancer cases and after a diagnosis they have the highest death rate compared to other groups.

Those racial and ethnic health disparities will be the focus of the 5th annual African American Nursing Conference, sponsored by the College of Nursing at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. The conference will run from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Feb. 24 at the Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel. The theme of the conference is “Health Disparities: The Link From Our Past is the Bridge to Our Future – Five Years in Review.”

“Minorities have higher incidences of chronic diseases, higher morality and poorer health outcomes,” said Vanessa Loyd, director of continuing education and assistant teaching professor with of nursing at UMSL.

The event will focus on health disparities involved with diseases such as: cancer (breast, colon and prostate), HIV/AIDS, lupus, sickle cell, Crohn’s disease, substance abuse, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and their impact on the African-American community.

The conference isn’t just giving lip service to community outreach. Mercy Hospital’s Mobile Mammography Van will be on-site providing free mammograms and other health screenings. Appointments are required for mammograms. The breast screenings are available to women 40-year-old  and over with no insurance. Spaces are limited. Call 314-251-6300 to make an appointment.

Additional health screenings available on a walk-in basis include: weight, blood pressure, HIV/AIDS, glucose, kidney, cholesterol, prostate and EKG. No registration or fee is required to receive a health screening.

The conference is targeted for the community, especially nurses and other professionals in the health care field who are interested in the unique contributions that African American nurses have made and continue to make in addressing health care disparities, health equity and health promotion through organizational community involvement. Future nurses as well as high school students are encouraged to attend the conference.

As many as 700 nurses, prospective nurses and other health care professional are expected to attend the 2012 conference.

The speakers are:

For more information visit the conference website or call 314-516-5994.

Myra Lopez

Myra Lopez