Brotherhood Initiative gets at root of health issues

Friday, February 21, 2014 - 11:51am

By Colin Campbell

Project Lead - Nova Scotia Brotherhood Initiative

In 2009, the Nova Scotia Brotherhood Initiative, or Project Brotherhood as it has been nicknamed, began as a concept at the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness derived from a project of the same name in Chicago. 

Project Brotherhood Chicago, created in 1997, is a holistic health model to address the downward trend of health status and outcomes of African American men.  In a similar way, the Nova Scotia Brotherhood Initiative adopts a model that increases access and enhances gender and culturally specific primary health care, which will serve to improve the health and wellbeing of African Nova Scotian men. 

There are many factors affecting the health of African Nova Scotian community, but more particularly men of African descent living in Nova Scotia. The Nova Scotia Brotherhood Initiative hopes to target these factors, which include: being historically and disproportionately affected by chronic disease; health disparities compared to the general population in of the province; systemic barriers to the health care system and health education; under-representation of health professionals of African descent; and low social determinants that affect health outcomes. 

With access to gender and cultural specific health care care that includes partnerships as the cornerstones of this model, the initiative can address the issues encountered by African Nova Scotian men in regards to their personal, family and community health and wellbeing. 

“There have been a number of studies done that show that men of any culture or race are less likely than women to go see a doctor about their health for a number of reasons,” says Wayn Hamilton,  African Nova Scotian Affairs. “Now, add the systemic issues that black men have to confront regarding their health and within the health care system, and it becomes more challenging for them to seek the care they need.” 

From its beginning in 2009 to now in 2014, the Nova Scotia Brotherhood Initiative has moved from a concept at the provincial government to the planning and implementation phase within Primary Health Care at Capital Health.

As Hamilton notes, “The future looks more positive for the health and wellness of black men with Project Brotherhood.”