Founded in the mid 1980s the North Carolina Minority Prostate Cancer Awareness Action Team (the Action Team) was established for the purpose of addressing the prostate cancer health disparity impacting African-American and Black men in North Carolina. Joseph Saunders, a volunteer and community health advocate, had become increasingly concerned about the high incidence and mortality rates from the disease in our communities. A series of meetings with American Cancer Society (ACS) officials were held to better understand the impact and what, if anything, could be done. Through this we formed a workgroup with the ACS to explore strategies. The workgroup included African-American community leaders, pastors, health officials and ACS staff, all deeply concerned about the alarming rates of prostate cancer in North Carolina.
This led to the formation of an organization -The North Carolina Minority Prostate Cancer Awareness Action Team (the Action Team)- with a central focus on the dissemination of information about prostate cancer to African-American men and men of color, and support for these men should they be diagnosed with prostate cancer. In 2005 the Action Team was awarded 501(c) (3) status from the Department of Treasury.
In September of 2005 the Action Team held its 2nd Prostate Cancer Awareness and Education Conference in Raleigh. The conference, entitled “Mobilizing Communities for Action,” was attended by over 100 individuals and was designed to support community based minority groups in addressing prostate cancer at the local level. This resulted in the replication of Action Team activities to educate African-American communities about prostate cancer and support newly diagnosed men and their families.