Robert F. Smith, Steve Harvey And More Gather In Harlem To Fight Prostate Cancer

April is National Minority Health Awareness Month. The issue of prostate cancer is a substantial one for the Black community, as recent studies have found that Black men are not only more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer but also more likely to die from low-grade prostate cancer.

With that shocking reality in mind, businessman and philanthropist Robert F. Smith has launched the Mount Sinai Robert F. Smith Mobile Prostate Cancer Screening Bus in Harlem in the hopes of saving lives. He gathered a few high-profile Black male celebrity friends and local medical leaders to come and celebrate the bus late last week, as well as to use their platforms to get the word out about the need for men to get tested.

Friends and local medical leaders for the launch of the Mt. Sinai Robert F. Smith Prostate Cancer Screening Bus (left to right): Dr. Ramon Parsons, Dr. David Reich, Dr. Cardinale Smith, Steve Harvey, Robert F. Smith, Dr. Ash Tewari, Chris Tucker, and Cedric the Entertainer.

“As a community we have faced and still do face a fair number of disparities in resources, access and information,” Smith said in a speech at the launch of the prostate cancer screening bus on Friday. “It’s important that we — which is why I brought all these beautiful Black men here to support what we do — educate each other and we bring resources to bear to help our community; not just to survive but to thrive.”

With Black men having substantially higher prostate cancer incidences in the United States, early detection is key. Having the bus available in what many deem the “Black Mecca of the world” can make a difference by bringing high quality care and services directly to neighborhoods in need. It can also inspire more mobile prostate cancer screening units around the country.

The stars who attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony near the Wagner Projects in Harlem included Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer, Chris Tucker and Charlamagne tha god. Charlamagne was moved by the event and the efforts being made to make screenings for prostate cancer more accessible for those who need it most.

“Mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually we’ve got to take care of ourselves and each other,” he wrote on Instagram. “Get tested, and tell your fathers, uncles, brothers, friends, and sons to get tested too!!! Forever inspired [sic] how @robertfredericksmith uses his blessings to be a blessing to others!!! Brothers like him and Steve remind me that it’s so much more service to provide!!!”

The screening bus comes from a $3.8 million donation Smith made in February 2021 to Mount Sinai’s Milton and Caroll Petrie Department of Urology. Now that it’s officially in the city, local community partners hope to raise awareness about the disease and the services that the mobile unit will be able to offer, including prostate screenings using a magnetic resonance imaging unit provided in the bus, and to schedule follow- up appointments as needed for patients with the Mount Sinai Health System.

At the time Smith made his Mount Sanai donation last year, following past endowments like his $27 million grant for the Susan G Komen for the Cure Foundation and the screening buses for women that followed, he was motivated by the COVID crisis.

“This past year has laid bare many of the economic and social inequities that continue to plague communities of color,” he said at the time. “It’s unconscionable that in our great country and at this moment of technological breakthrough, Black Americans are still subject to staggeringly worse health outcomes. We can fix this. I’m grateful to Mount Sinai for being a standout in providing world-class care to all patients, and I’m honored to help their team serve New York City’s communities with early detection and a path to curative treatments.”

TOPICS: Cancer Minority Health Month Robert F. Smith

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