On October 7, the third annual Memphis African American Male Wellness 5K raised awareness of the health issues African-Americans face and set a new personal record for free health screenings.

The African American Male Wellness Agency (AAMWA) launched the National African American Male Wellness Walk/Run Initiative in 2004 to encourage Black folks to lead healthier lifestyles through education, awareness and health screenings and to help increase the life expectancy of Black men.

Event organizer Leonard Watkins told Channel 3 News that AAMWA is doing its part to reduce disparities in premature death and chronic diseases through free screenings for blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol, HIV, sexually transmitted infections and prostate cancer in those who may not be seeing their doctor regularly.

Black men have a shorter life expectancy compared with white people, 70.8 and 76.4 years, respectively, according to KFF Health News.

“Closing the gap means giving people the opportunity to live a longer, healthier life, such as some of our counterparts are afforded to have. A lot of African Americans don’t have the resources, the funds or the knowledge on getting to doctors or having a primary care physician,” Watkins told Channel 3.

Dozens of local men and women participated in the walk/run through downtown Memphis. The event also featured community vendors, live music and entertainment for kids.

AAMWA president Kenny Hampton took to Instagram to celebrate the successful event and share an exciting announcement.

“Our men came out and they showed us ‘Hey, we’re going to take our health seriously.’ And we screened close to 200 men this year. That’s the most we’ve ever done,” Hampton said in the video. “More importantly, we provided more than 300 total screenings for our women who came out and participated in our screenings as well.”

“We’re excited about the lives that we’ve saved right here in Memphis, Tennessee, and we’re just getting started,” Hampton added. “Way to go. Job well done. See you guys next year.”

Click here to watch a recap of last year’s 2022 Memphis Walk.