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Health Disparities

African Americans often receive poorer quality of care and lack access to culturally competent care. Currently, the HBCU Wellness Project focuses on seven main disparities:


Breast Cancer

African American women have a 31% breast cancer mortality rate – the highest of any U.S. racial or ethnic group. (Data excepted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)


Prostate Cancer

Prostate is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among black men; 31% of all cancer diagnosed.  (Data excepted from the American Cancer Society.)



In the state of Tennessee, the rate of black males living with an HIV diagnosis is 6.3 times that of white males. (Data excepted from AIDSVu.)


Infant Mortality / Preconception Health

Black and American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) women have pregnancy-related mortality rates that are over three and two times higher, respectively, compared to the rate for White women. (Data excepted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)


Mental Wellness

Mental Wellness includes Domestic Violence, Intimate Partner Violence, Suicide and Depression and Substance Abuse. Racial/ethnic, gender, and sexual minorities often suffer from poor mental health outcomes due to multiple factors including inaccessibility of high quality mental health care services, cultural stigma surrounding mental health care, discrimination, and overall lack of awareness about mental health. (Data excepted from the American Psychiatry Association.)


Obesity Reduction

Obesity reduction includes Heart Disease, Physical Inactivity, Diabetes, Hypertension and Stroke Awareness. Non-Hispanic Black adults (49.6%) had the highest age-adjusted prevalence of obesity, followed by Hispanic adults (44.8%), non-Hispanic White adults (42.2%) and non-Hispanic Asian adults (17.4%) (Data excepted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)



Non-Hispanic Black, Hispanic or Latino, and people who identify with more than one race and are non-Hispanic were more likely to have positive test results as compared with non-Hispanic White or non-Hispanic Asian people. (Data excepted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

Each year the TN-MMC HBCU Wellness Project provides opportunities for undergraduate students via research, training and experiential learning activities.  Students are asked to consider projects that may reflect personal experiences and interest.  These reflections often lead to students researching information on a particular disparity that leads to an ethically approved intervention in partnership with health experts, community and faith based organizations. The ultimate goal is to promote a change in knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of community residents most affected by disparate conditions that may be preventable. The HBCU Wellness Project seeks to enhance outcomes leading to improved “wellness and fitness for Tennessee communities.”

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