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Dr. Brian A Stone 

MD, FACS - CEO
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Dr. Brian Stone, a native of Birmingham, Alabama, attended Rutgers University on a 4-year academic AFROTC scholarship to Rutgers University as a Biology major. He was accepted into the Morehouse School of Medicine, completing his basic sciences, then completing his clinical years and graduating from the University of Alabama School of Medicine (Birmingham) in 1985. He completed his residency training in general surgery and urology at the Montefiore Medical Center (and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine) in Bronx, NY.

He also completed a research fellowship in erectile dysfunction and a clinical fellowship in neuro-urology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Weiler Hospital. During his training, he was bothered by the significant racial disparities in prostate cancer incidence and survivability in patients of color in New York City. He received a grant to fund a free prostate cancer screening program for men of African descent in New York City. He created a partnership with the Baptist Ministers Association of NY and the Prince Hall Masons and screened over 5000 men of color.

His experience with prostate cancer highlighted the complexities of racial disparities in healthcare and why diversity in clinical research is so important. Many of us in the urological community were convinced that improving access to PSA testing and early detection would correct the racial disparities we saw with prostate cancer in African American men. Further studies confirmed that even when one controls for prostate cancer early detection, socioeconomic status, equal access to care, and level of insurance, the outcomes data remains poor for men of African descent diagnosed with prostate cancer. The lack of large data sets of African American men in prostate cancer trials makes the applicability of diagnostic and treatment algorithms to unrepresentative groups of patients difficult. This is especially true with many of the prostate cancer treatment nomograms.

 

He was recruited to the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, where he joined the urology academic faculty from July 1994 until December 2009.  During his illustrious academic appointment, he served in many capacities at various New York City Hospitals, including being a member of Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center's kidney transplant team and the Harlem Hospital Center's trauma team. He was the director of Ambulatory Urology at Harlem Hospital, the Chief of Urology at North General Hospital, the chief of urologic oncology at the Ralph Lauren Cancer Center, and the Associate Director of neuro-urology at Maimonides Medical Center (Brooklyn). 

 

His experiences at Harlem Hospital Center working in a vastly underserved community highlighted the negative impacts of health disparities and social determinants of health. Dr. Harold Freeman was the chairman of the Department of Surgery at Harlem Hospital and was keenly focused on racial disparities in breast cancer in the Harlem community.  These experiences led Dr. Stone to create the Black Health Network (in partnership with Dr. Ed Ikeguchi and Glenn DeVries) in 1996, the first health information website for African Americans at that time. The initial plan was to create a platform focused on providing culturally sensitive health information. The Black Health Network quickly morphed into a “clinical trial management” company. Amgen had developed a new LHRH antagonist and was keenly interested in recruiting significant African American patients into its clinical trials. The African American urologists of the R. Frank Jones Urological Society (NMA) were recruited by Dr. Stone to participate as principal investigators (many of whom were clinical trial naïve). This was a high-risk proposition for the CEO of Amgen and his scientific team, using so many research naive sites for pivotal studies. The Black Health Network, in partnership with Medidata Solutions, would successfully navigate 25 clinical trial naïve African American urologist investigator sites. These sites became the highest recruiters of African American prostate cancer patients for the Amgen Abarelix trial.

 

Dr. Stone is the founder of Jasper Urology Associates, which has been the leading provider of urologic care in that region of the state of Alabama for over ten years. He created the robotic surgery program at the Walker Baptist Medical Center in 2010. He serves as president of Northwest Alabama Lithotripsy LLC and Alabama Sexual Medicine Specialists LLC. He has served on the scientific advisory boards for Boehringer-Ingelheim, Pfizer, Bayer, Mentor-Coloplast, and American Medical Systems. He served on the International Prostate Committee with the United Nations (UNESCO) at the Paris meeting in 2000. He has served on the scholarship committee of the Congressional Black Caucus. He is an active member of the R. Frank Jones Urological Society. He has previously served as the organization's national president, which is an affiliate of the National Medical Association. He has worked tirelessly to educate men of African descent about prostate cancer and early detection and to address the racial disparities in clinical trial participation.

Laboratory

Dr. Lydell Lettsome

MD, FACS - CMO (Chief Medical Officer)

The Rev. Lydell C. Lettsome, M.D. is a board-certified general surgeon with a background of study in Christian and Medical Ethics. He received his bachelor’s degree in Psychology & Pre-Medical Sciences from Columbia University. From there he earned his M.D. at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Pa.  Besides being a Fellow of the American College Surgeons, Dr. Lettsome is also a member of the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. He has also been a member of the Institute of Healthcare Quality, the American

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Society of Breast Surgeons and the American Society of Breast Disease.

Dr. Lettsome is the author of Stolen Money, Stolen Health, a prize winning book advocating universal healthcare for Americans. Dr. Lettsome has been a tireless health equity advocate for the past decade. He has lectured on health equity and disparities throughout the country. He has also served on several boards and task forces addressing equity including the NYC Dept of Health’s Task Force on Disparities in Breast Cancer.  In addition to his surgical practice he is the founder of the Vanbert Health Equity Project. A 501c3 non-profit that coaches churches on how to identify, procure and develop the necessary assets to achieve healthy living. Through Vanbert he has worked with the Drew Theological School, the AME Church International Health Commission and New York Theological Seminary.

He is a Christian who not only expresses his love of God and people through his surgical skill but also through his service to the community and the world. Dr. Lettsome has travelled the world providing free medical and surgical care to the poor with various missionary groups and has served on the Board of Directors for the Dorcas Medical Mission.  In addition, he often volunteers for the Greater NY Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Cancer Foundation. In 2005, Dr. Lettsome was licensed to the Christian ministry at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Brooklyn, NY. In the midst of a highly demanding surgical career he completed a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York City in 2010 and was ordained in April 2011.

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