Hampton University
Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute to Hold Press Conference at Historic Emancipation Oak Denouncing Prejudiced Lack of Funding for HUPTI
09/01/2020 - #33

HAMPTON, Va. (September 1, 2020) - On Wednesday, September 2, at 11 am, the Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute (HUPTI) will hold a media event at the historic Emancipation Oak, on Hampton University’s campus. The goal of this event is to bring attention to the funding HUPTI was previously promised yet never received from federal, state, and local officials, in their fight against cancer. Bill Thomas, Hampton University Associate Vice President of Government Relations will be joined by Former Republican Delegate David Yancey, HUPTI graduates, and a host of university staff members. 

African Americans face overwhelming disparities regarding incidence and mortality rates for cancer. To make matters worse, cancer is among the main underlying causes of death for COVID-19, which has also disproportionally affected the Black community. Black males are more likely to die from prostate cancer than any other ethnic group, and the latest data shows African Americans have died from COVID-19 at almost three times the rate of their white counterparts. With cancer claiming the lives of Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman, as well as former NBA All Star Clifford Robinson, aged 43 and 53, respectively, within the last week, it is painfully clear that the epidemic level health inequities seen in the Black community are not tied to life stage or socioeconomic status. “Being rich, prominent, and young won’t even counteract this if you’re Black,” Mr. Thomas said. "Just imagine if you’re old and poor. Something has to be done." 

HUPTI was borne from the visionary leadership of Hampton University President Dr. William R. Harvey, who secured private funding for and founded the Institute, the world's largest free-standing proton therapy cancer treatment center, in 2005, after being presented with data showing Hampton Roads led the nation in prostate cancer deaths and African American men were more than twice as likely to die from cancer than white men. He stepped up when no one else in the region would. 

Mr. Thomas has been featured on WNIS AM790 and other local media outlets admonishing federal, state, and local officials for their lack of funding for HUPTI, which has treated more than 3,000 patients for various cancers with millimeter precision and minimal side effects and will now fight COVID-19 by testing the condition of lungs with the acquisition of an MRI machine in October. Hampton University and HUPTI claim other institutions have received help and much more should be done to fund and bolster their efforts. 

“We’ve done our part and helped ourselves," Mr. Thomas said. “Dr. Harvey built this quarter billion-dollar facility without significant help from the Federal Government or the Commonwealth. We can help eliminate these tragic stories. All we’re asking for is fairness.”  

The event will be in compliance with all CDC guidelines, face coverings and social distancing will be practiced.  

For additional information, please call (757) 251-6814 or email cordereau.dye@hamptonproton.org.

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