Men's Health Initiative


Why is the Men's Health Initiative Important?

African American, AA, men are disproportionately at risk for of early death and have the highest cancer incidence and mortality rates of all subgroups. Darlington County has one of the highest cancer mortality rates in the state, with AA men being most at-risk due to health disparities. The life expectancy for AA men is 6 years less than white men. Research clearly indicates health disparities among men in general, with men having shorter life expectancy than women and suffering with more life-threatening diseases, while health disparities among AA men is so great that he has been referred to as “the invisible man”. Health disparities among AA men are the result of social, behavioral, and psychological factors and have created an on-going, increasing and predominately silent crisis impacting their health and well-being.



To advance health equity among AA men in Darlington County by implementing a community-based program built on Community Partners working together to enhance awareness regarding cancer risks and preventive strategies, improve access to health care, and increase early screenings, thus reducing health disparities.


Action Plan

Darlington County First Steps, DCFS, will serve as the community convener, bringing together a wide range of Community Partners to address the burden of cancer and health disparities in AA men. The network of Community Partners will include caregiving organizations, the faith-based community, fraternal groups, health care and clinical institutions as well as other non-profits, businesses, civic organizations and government agencies. The focus will be identifying, engaging, and serving underserved and underinsured AA men with social, behavioral, psychological, and/or biological factors related to health disparities and cancer risks. This project will address the root causes of cancer and will focus on the following “screenable cancers”: lung, colorectal, and prostate.


Four major strategies will be utilized to execute the action plan and meet the goal of this project including the following:

1.  Community Mobilization/Advocacy: including convening a Men’s Health Initiative Task Force to serve as champions in the community; soliciting commitments from Community Partners for specific support; and encouraging clinical partners to develop and promote screening and health campaigns for AA men.

2. Community Awareness/Marketing Campaign: including designing press releases, radio ads, and a social media blitz; and distributing health information/literature.

3. Education: including holding quarterly Health and Wellness Symposiums; developing and disseminating a series of educational Podcasts; providing family education opportunities; and establishing educational events/activities throughout the county.


4. Access: including facilitating access to health care providers and needed screenings, tests, examinations, etc.; hosting on-site screenings in collaboration with clinical partners; organizing mini health fairs throughout the county; and working with businesses where men frequent such as barber shops.


Why is DC First Steps Involved in Men's Health? 

In our work with fathers/males over the past two years, it has become increasingly clear many fathers/males have both physical and mental health issues and needs that are unaddressed. DCFS' mission is to provide programs, services, and information to strengthen the families and communities of Darlington County. One of our core strategies to strengthen families is to provide services directly targeting the fathers/males in our families. Often times, fathers/males are a forgotten piece of the puzzle when working with mothers and their children but this Initiative will help to change that.  


According to the Men's Health Network, 100% of women are more likely than men to go visit the doctor for annual exams and preventative services and 1 and 2 men are diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime compared with 1 and 3 women. We aim to change these statistics and hope that you will join us on this journey!


• 20-Year Trends for Incidence, Mortality and Survival Reports, 2018
• Cancer in African American Men in South Carolina, 2019
• Cancer in African American Men in South Carolina Action Plan, 2020



Thank you to our statewide partner, SC Cancer Alliance, for providing support to the Men's Health Initiative in Darlington County!







Men's Health Podcasts

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4

Episode 5

Episode 6 

Episode 7 

Sponsored and supported by S.C. Cancer Alliance