The African American Male Wellness Initiative will be held Nov. 2 in Charlotte, North Carolina, to raise awareness for preventable diseases.

The community event begins at 8 a.m. at 3400 Beatties Ford Road., and will feature a 5K walk/run, free health screenings, information booths, music, a children’s pavilion and more.

Dr. Gus Parker

“There are health disparities that exist in our community, particularly in those communities of color,” said Novant Health leader Dr. Gus Parker, medical director for Novant Health OB/GYN Urgent Care and coordinator for the event. “This event started as a wellness campaign to get men to know their numbers, get moving and get connected with health care professionals.”

Parker helped establish the event 16 years ago in Ohio, and it has expanded to several American cities. This is the first time it will be held in Charlotte.

Dr. Jerome Williams

Attendees can receive free health screenings for various issues, including blood pressure, cholesterol and HIV.

“At Novant Health, we want to improve the health of communities one person at a time, and this is one of the initiatives we’re engaged in,” said Dr. Jerome Williams, Novant Health senior vice president consumer engagement and corporate health. “We want to promote health and wellness in our communities.”

The run/walk will begin at 10 a.m. The festivities aren’t limited to men; it’s a family-friendly event and there’s no admission charge. If you’re a runner, you have to register. Walkers don’t have to register.

For information about the wellness initiative, including how to volunteer, join a “passion team” or become a sponsor, go to