Introduction

The prevalence of Prostate Cancer in black men and the silence in the community about it were the driving forces behind the initiative to educate men and their relatives about health issues and the importance of being informed. Two Prostate Cancer survivors, with different treatment experiences, spear-headed the initiative and formed The Walnut Foundation in 2007. It was incorporated in 2010 and received CRA charitable organization status on September 1, 2012.

Formation of a Board of Directors with a mix of prostate cancer survivors and other community-minded men made it possible for the organization to get off the ground. Identified individuals were later recruited to form an expanded planning group. Our success with recruitment of attendees has been largely based on personal invitations and our success with retention has been due to us meeting the needs and interests of the community.

Our purpose is to work with the Black Community in identifying the needs of Black Men in the areas of health and related issues; and to provide a forum for discussion in a comfortable, safe and supportive environment.

The Executive Committee

The Executive (formerly Steering) Committee manages the affairs of the organization with input and assistance from an expanded planning group. For our educational sessions, we tap into the expertise within the group as well as identify external subject matter experts and request their assistance.

Winston Isaac. PhD is one of the prime movers behind the formation of The Walnut Foundation. He graduated in Respiratory Technology in 1973 and since that time, he has worked as clinician, manager, director, health policy analyst and educator. Dr. Isaac is an Associate Professor in Health Policy and Administration and holds the Certified Health Executive (CHE) designation from the Canadian College of Health Service Executives. Dr. Isaac is also a Reviewer for the Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA) which is an international program based in the US which certifies academic programs in health administration.

As a Prostate Cancer survivor, Dr. Isaac is passionate about sharing his experiences so that others would be aware of the value of constant monitoring, early diagnosis and the benefits of early treatment.

Simon Samuel is currently employed as a Property Maintenance and Operations Manager and has been in that position for the last fourteen years. Mr. Samuel is an avid musician (guitar and vocals). He is a Prostate Cancer survivor who was diagnosed at a fairly young age for the condition. Mr. Samuel credits his own diligence about health for an early diagnosis and follow-up treatment.

Winston Mapp Sr, is a founding member of The Walnut Foundation. He felt that he could not refuse the invitation of Dr. Winston Isaac when he was approached to discuss the idea of group which would focus on Men’s Health issues. He has stated that he felt compelled to be a part of the organization after watching a close friend lose his second battle with Prostate Cancer. He is convinced that the Foundation through its series of lectures, discussion and support meetings, will make a difference in the lives of men in the area of health and related issues.

Eugene Brazier is also one of the early members of The Walnut Foundation, and has learned a lot about health issues affecting men. One of his favourite quotes is, “know and understand your numbers”. When the doctor says that your blood pressure is 135/75, be sure that you understand what those figures mean.

Charles Estridge is a passionate member of The Walnut Foundation’s Men Health because he firmly believes that knowledge of and early detection of any health-related condition is a ticket to life. As a Certified Dialysis Perfusionist with a major teaching hospital in Toronto, he is also a member of the Canadian Standards Association, developing standards of practice for Dialysis and Dialysis Technologists.

Anthony Henry has been an Advisor on the Steering Committee of The Walnut Foundation since 2012. He is not only a strong supporter of The Foundations work but has also benefited directly from the first-hand knowledge and experience of fellow members of the organization.

Vernon Clarke has been associated with a variety of organizations for a number of years. was born in Barbados. As a member of the community health committee which conducted a feasibility study for establishing a Community Health Centre in Milliken Mills in 1993, Vernon was also affiliated with the Markham African Caribbean Association and the education division was established in 1994 to offer tutoring at the Saturday Morning School Program. This affiliation lasted ten (10) years. Currently, Vernon is the Chair of the Board at Ebenezer United Church in Markham.

Christopher Hunter is a duly qualified Licensed Paralegal in good standings with the Law Society of Upper Canada as well as an employee of a major hospital in Toronto Ontario with emphasis on Hemodialysis. His passion is health education and awareness, especially among young men who think the invincibility of youth will last forever. One of his favorite questions is “When was the last time you saw a doctor?” Christopher believes that by having that self-awareness to monitor your health and having mentors to speak with is a powerful tool when faced with tough decisions.