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Reducing health disparities in gay African-American men, tobacco-related cancers

Gay African American Men Cancer

Gay African-American men face greater smoking-related health risks than members of other of racial groups, and researchers at Cal State Long Beach will study ways to reduce those disparities. Photo: Trang Le/Q Voice News

LONG BEACH — Gay African-American men face greater smoking-related health risks than members of other of racial groups, and researchers at Cal State Long Beach will study strategies to reduce those disparities.

The university’s Center for Health Equity Research has received a three-year, $1.1 million grant from the state’s Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program to develop and test strategies that would help gay African-American men avoid or reduce tobacco and cannabis use, the university announced today.

HEALTH DISPARITIES

For example, African-American men experience the greatest rates of tobacco-related cancers or deaths, even though nationwide cases of tobacco-related cancers and deaths fell from 2004 to 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We want to intervene with young men before they frequently smoke or use vape forms of tobacco and marijuana,” said Laura D’Anna, assistant professor of health science and director of the Center for Health Equity Research.

“With so many new products on the market targeted to this group, it’s important that we focus efforts on developing and testing strategies to support young people in avoiding initiation,” she said. “We want to prevent these disparities in health risks and cancer rates.”

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PROJECT TIMELINE

The study, which is in the formative phase with focus groups, will start by early summer and focus on approximately 300 gay African-American men between 18 and 24 years old, D’Anna said.

After developing and testing strategies, the researchers will compile the data and present their findings in 2021, she said.

The Center for Health Equity Research conducts community-based research focused on reducing health disparities among marginalized population groups.

California tobacco taxes finance the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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