Maryland native, DC high school coach works to improve Black health

Getting the right health information to African American males, who are more likely to die prematurely, can be challenging in the age of disinformation.

Forty-two-year-old Milton Yates is the current coordinator at the National African American Male Wellness Agency and founder and CEO of My Fit Fam DC. His mission is to help Black men lead a healthier lifestyle by giving them the right information.

He encourages Black men to go to the doctor, “know their numbers,” and to move.

“We need to be seeking and actively improving our physical health while we exercise our mind and have fruitful conversations around our self-care,” Yates said.

Photo of Milton Yates, current coordinator of the National African American Male Wellness Agency. (Courtesy Milton Yates.)

Black men have traditionally gathered in barber shops as a type of safe space to communicate. Yates said those conversations should change to “Gym Talk.”

My Fit Fam DC aims to reduce the health gap in the District, especially in Wards 7 and 8, using an interactive wellness program.

It offers individual and group training alongside youth wrestling and summer camps. Residents can also attend pop-up events in Wards 7 and 8.

The twice-married father of three said he can easily empathize with many of the men that he serves.

“I understand a lot of the dynamics of relationships, of fatherhood, both for girls and boys,” Yates said, “being divorced, having to co-parent, split households, strains on income; on finances. You know … the works.”

National African American Male Wellness Agency offers resources to men who are fathers, need assistance, financial counseling, and men looking for mentorship.

Yates has been in the fitness business for over two decades. The Maryland native, and Howard University graduate, is the head coach for the wrestling team at D.C.’s Gonzaga College High School.

He received his M.A. in Coaching and Athletic Administration from Concordia University Irvine.

This is part of WTOP’s continuing coverage of people making a difference in our community authored by Stephanie Gaines-Bryant. You can read more of that coverage by clicking here.

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