At times it’s tough to get brothers to care for their health and stay up to date with routine check-ups. But for Keon Gilbert, a researcher in the early stages of his career, this challenge is worth meeting. Gilbert scored a $100,000, two-year grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to study behaviors and policies that are most likely to improve the health of African-American men, according to a statement by Saint Louis University (SLU).

Gilbert, DrPH, an assistant professor at SLU’s College for Public Health and Social Justice, is among a select group of researchers awarded this grant. “It fit with my interest in disease prevention and health promotion and gave me a specific group of people of focus on,” Gilbert said.
Gilbert said that this research opened his eyes to the unique and complex issues that African-American men face. His mission is to find the factors that influence black men to seek preventive health care and engage in healthy behaviors.

In addition, Gilbert’s research will also target racial, ethnic and gender health disparities and identify effective community-based intervention strategies based on how masculinity is defined in the black community. Gilbert plans to build upon the research of others to better understand the unique profile of African Americans and how diet, exercise and stress relief are important factors in maintaining good health in this population group.

Gilbert’s work is not the only research affecting African Americans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities recently released a report about why many black people avoid seeking treatment for mental health disorders. Click here for more information.