Prayer breakfast aims to bring awareness to improving men’s health

Prayer breakfast aims to bring awareness to improving men’s health
September 15
15:46 2022

Statistics show that Black men neglect their health more than any other demographic. In an effort to shine more light on the topic, The Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity (MACHE) and Triad Pastors Network will hold a prayer breakfast and health symposium on Sept. 24 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The breakfast is open to all men age 18 and older and is sponsored by the American Heart Association.

Raising the Bar for Black Men’s Health and Wellness: A Men’s Prayer Breakfast and Health Symposium, will be held at St. Stephen Missionary Baptist Church, 5000 Noble St., here in Winston-Salem. Dr. Robert Turner II from the department of clinical research and leadership at the George Washington School of Medicine & Health Science will be the keynote speaker. Turner is also a former professional football player and author.

Dr. Kelvin Lamonte Williams, community liaison and outreach specialist for MACHE, says they recently held a health forum where 40 men were partnered to be accountability partners in health, which generated interest in men’s health for MACHE. 

“The prayer breakfast was kind of a next step, if you will, toward giving the Black men a place where they could speak about their own health and receive information and education for their own health,” said Williams.

“I am a man of faith and I have had great success in the past with gathering Black men around a prayer breakfast. So, I introduced the concept to my team and they saw merit in it.”

“The Breakfast and Health Symposium will examine the health of Black men across their lifespan. In the United States, non-Hispanic Black men have the lowest life expectancy from birth compared to women and their male counterparts of other racial groups according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. This premature mortality among non-Hispanic Black men has been linked to health outcomes such as heart disease, cancer, and unintentional injuries. In addition, non-Hispanic Black men disproportionately face numerous social determinants of health that affect lifespan, quality of life, and physical and mental health outcomes, such as low socioeconomic status, racial discrimination, and incarceration,” the center wrote in a press release.

The symposium will begin with breakfast, followed by a spiritual message and the keynote address. The health panel, where men may ask questions of the health professionals, will come after the keynote address. The event will end with some raffles, a word from the sponsors and the benediction.

The panel, which is probably the most important part of the breakfast, will feature all Black men that are health professionals, such as Dr. Elijah Beaty, Dr. A. William Blackstock and Dr. Christopher Edwards.

Turner feels that oftentimes people take for granted that Black men already have the necessary health knowledge, when in fact they may not. He also says that men do not talk about their health with one another, which also presents another roadblock to proper health.

“They don’t express how they’re feeling and they don’t express what’s going on with them,” Turner said about Black men talking about their health. “We know about our grandparents and fathers and they could be suffering in silence because as a man, you’re not supposed to show weakness or you don’t know how to say what’s going on with you. We have to give people not only the knowledge but we have to give them the tools to take care of their own health.”

After his playing career in professional football was over, Turner had a tough time transitioning into the next phase of his life. He eventually returned to graduate school and began taking an interest in men’s mental health, which led him to his current path.

For his message, Turner says he is a man of faith and will spend time praying. He will also relay some information from articles he has read, along with important notes and nuggets for the men in attendance to absorb.

“I think this is a very serious opportunity and I want to be able to speak to what God has put on my heart; I want to support what Dr. [Goldie] Byrd is doing and Dr. Williams is doing,” said Turner. “This is our opportunity to not only speak to people, but to hear from people and to build relationships with people.

“We hope that what comes out of this is that we build lifelong relationships with these Black men so we can learn from them and they can learn from us and collectively, we can really approach the issues around Black men’s health that are really challenging us.”

Dr. Byrd is the director of the MACHE and says events like the prayer breakfast are needed to ensure that Black men start to turn the tide on having the lowest life expectancy.

“It continues to be essential for the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity at Wake Forest University School of Medicine to provide opportunities that raise awareness as a critical first step toward improving life expectancy. The health of African American men consistently ranks lowest among gender and racial groups. We will continue our community engagement to ensure that we are reaching men in the Piedmont Triad area and across the state of North Carolina with activities that promote health and prosperity,” Byrd said in a statement.

To register for the breakfast and for more information, please visit

About Author

Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors