Our Approach

NAATPN is reinventing and strengthening its position as the leading source of education and advocacy for tobacco and cancer health disparities affecting African Americans.

Awake, Learn, Share & Act​

NAATPN is reinventing and strengthening its position as the leading source of education and advocacy for tobacco and cancer health disparities affecting African Americans. It is imperative to engage health care organizations and African American communities in tobacco and cancer prevention work.

The mission is abbreviated and summed up in four simple words: Awake, Learn, Share, Act.

A closer look at each of these words in the context of health advocacy will clearly demonstrate the mission of NAATPN and efforts of its national partners to empower health organizations and the African American community to fight against the predatory tactics of the tobacco industry, lower cancer prevalence, and reducing the spread of HIV.


To stir up, to cause one to become alert, aware or cognizant: completely conscious, vigilant and watchful.

NAATPN believes the first step to mobilizing health organizations and communities is to become of aware of the root causes of health disparities among African Americans. This means examining and abolishing stigma associated with HIV/AIDS, fighting the tobacco industry’s predatory marketing tactics, and reversing the impact of institutional social structures on African American health.

African Americans carry the highest burden of death for many of the country’s most fatal diseases. Approximately 45,000 African Americans will die from a smoking-related disease this year and African Americans are still more likely to die from cancer than any other ethnic group.

Additionally, African Americans continue to account for nearly half of all new HIV cases. NAATPN is taking a stand and providing advocacy assistance to eliminate such egregious health disparities.

To reduce rates of death and illness among African Americans, it is critical that we help people to quit smoking, get more people tested for cancers and HIV, promote healthier lifestyles through diet and exercise, and assist our community members in accessing quality health care.

It’s time to wake up.


Gain knowledge, comprehension, or mastery of the ability to be effective. Be informed and discover new ideas.

African Americans typically experience higher rates of disease, death and lower-quality health care compared to the general population. However, most public health efforts are designed for the general population and often ignore issues specific to minorities.

For example, African American communities have historically been assaulted with aggressive, targeted campaigns promoting mentholated tobacco products. As a result of such predatory marketing, African Americans smoke menthol flavored cigarettes at nearly 3 times the rate as whites, have a more difficult time quitting, and are more likely to die from a smoking-related illness.

In addition, African Americans are at increased risk for contracting and transmitting HIV due to factors that are often overlooked: geography, education, discrimination, and stigma.

As it relates to cancer, African Americans have the highest mortality rate of any racial group for all cancers combined. In fact, both African American men and women have lower life expectancies partly due to late detection and diagnosis.

NAATPN and its strategic partners are working to educate people on the health and social challenges unique to African Americans.  Executing culturally competent strategies, providing quality health care and powerful education campaigns can be extremely effective in advancing health equity.

NAATPN is here to provide information, collaboration, and education to realize these solutions.

Knowledge applied will change situations.


To divide, parcel out in shares, distribute and/or experience jointly.

Sharing is the key to health equity and parity. Once stakeholders, community leaders and health professionals become well-schooled on the specific issues at hand, knowledge and information must be shared with others.

NAATPN has a network of strategic partners specially positioned to strengthen, support, and disseminate evidence-based and promising strategies to eliminate tobacco, HIV/AIDS and cancer-related health disparities. It is imperative to engage more public health advocates across sectors in disease prevention work. This includes state and local public health officials, faith leaders, youth, academic researchers, and leaders in the African American community.

There is power in networking, collaboration and unity.


The process of doing or performing, getting something done or to cause things to happen.

Strategic action must be taken to reduce the burden of tobacco use, cancer-related health disparities and prevalence of HIV/AIDS infections and advance health equity. As communities and health advocates awake, learn and share, action is the next step to implement change. NAATPN is leading the way in effective action to reduce the burden of tobacco use as well as the prevelance of HIV/AIDS and cancer in the African American community.

To improve the overall quality of health in America, it is vital that we rethink the tools, strategies and interventions designed for minority populations.

Since 2000, NAATPN has been working collaboratively with communities to eliminate tobacco related health disparities. Here are a few actions you can take to participate in the fight: raise the awareness of the dangers of menthol and tobacco use in your community; encourage frequent HIV testing for high-risk groups; promote early detection and primary cancer prevention strategies; outreach to key stakeholders that can influence access to care; advocate for positive lifestyle changes and environmentally friendly neighbors.

Join the NAATPN listserv, interact with NAATPN via social media sites and share data, information and lessons learned with strategic partners.

This is how we will energize the movement.