By: Brother Clint Boyd, Jr.

Nashville, TN – Members of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. descended on Capitol Hill on March 17, 2010. The event was an opportunity for the fraternity members to gain more information on the activities of the legislature, especially as they pertain to the African-American population. The annual event is hosted by the Gamma Phi Chapter, and is open to members of the fraternity throughout the state of Tennessee.

The fraternity members were welcomed by State Representative Brother Joe Armstrong as well as by State Senator Thelma M. Harper. Harper thanked the Omegas for spending time on Capitol Hill and encouraged larger participation and more frequent visits.

The brothers attended a presentation regarding Meharry Medical College’s HBCU Wellness Project, a program that partners with historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) to formally engage their immediate communities for health disparity reduction. The program has student health ambassadors at Fisk University, Lane College, Knoxville College, Lemoyne-Owens College and Meharry Medical College whose key function is to be advocates for health promotion and disease prevention.

The brothers also attended a presentation given by Dr. Bergein Overholt regarding a new procedure to screen for colon cancer called ColoMarker. The screening is done by a simple blood draw. According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death and disproportionally affects African-Americans, having a 52% higher mortality rate than Caucasians. The ColoMarker blood test is in the clinical testing stage and is estimated to be available in the United States within two years. Biotech Corporation, the owner of ColoMarker, was conducting free screenings to members of the legislature and visitors to the Capitol. Many of the brothers participated in the screening.

The day was concluded with a luncheon and photograph with Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen.

Omega Day on the Hill: Members of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. pose with Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen after spending the day on Capitol Hill, March 17, 2010. Front row: Brother Clint Boyd, Jr., State Representative Brother Joe Armstrong, Governor Phil Bredesen, Brother Hershell Warren, Jordan Turks, Harold Turks, Jr. Second row: Brother Michael Freeman, Brother Marcus Ellis, Brother Harold Love, Jr., Brother Larry Holden, Brother Kelvin Jones. Top row: Brother Eric Trotter, Brother Charles McCurry, Brother Bakari Underwood, Brother Sean Waller, Brother Harold Turks, Sr.

Omega Day on the Hill: Brothers of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. participate in colon cancer screening using new blood draw technique, ColoMarker. Left side (front to back): Brother Clint Boyd, Jr., Brother Michael Freeman, Brother Eric Trotter, Brother Marcus Ellis, Brother Charles McCurry, Brother Harold Love, Jr., Brother Harold Turks, Sr.  Right side (front to back): Brother Hershell Warren, Brother Bakari Underwood, Brother Kelvin Jones, Brother Larry Holden, State Representative Brother Joe Armstrong, Brother Sean Waller.

Omega Psi Phi members Brother Hershell Warren (front) and Brother Larry Holden participate in the ColoMarker colon cancer screening.