The URF is pleased to welcome Col. Allen B. West to its Board of Trustees. Col. West works in public policy and is a retired military serviceman, published author and former U.S. congressman. He has pledged to be a voice in the fight against prostate cancer.
In February, Col. West attended his first URF board meeting at the invitation of URF board president Anthony Sansone, Sr. Inspired by the discussions at the meeting, he wrote an article for his website, www.allenbwest.com, entitled "This needs to be read by EVERY man in America; it could save your life." He wrote, "I know this may not be a very comfortable topic, but we need to have this discussion and get better educated on this life threatening cancer."
In the article, Col. West provided background information on prostate cancer and screening tests, including both PSA testing and the newer Prostate Health Index (PHI) test, which is three times more accurate than PSA testing. "I think prostate cancer is an important topic to get out there, and it was very well received," he said of his article.
He also wrote of the impact of prostate cancer on African American men in the U.S. African American men are more likely to develop prostate cancer compared to Caucasian men and are 2.4 times more likely to die from the disease.
Col. West also expressed concern that in the aftermath of the 2012 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) guidelines, PSA testing is "deemed unnecessary" by the U.S. government. He said, "We don’t want to have a system that doesn't get the testing done."
Col. West is ready to lend a voice to the URF's mission of increasing awareness of prostate cancer. "We need support for this effort," he wrote on his website. "And you can expect me to become a voice for this fight, and especially for black men...Hey guys, we need to take care of ourselves. Our country, our children and grandchildren are depending on us."
Col. West's website has an extensive reach. His website has 20-30 million page views per month and over 2 million followers on Facebook. His goals for the website are to educate, inform and engage the American public on unique perspectives and analyses.
A career in service
Col. West was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, in the same neighborhood where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., once preached. He is the third of four generations of military servicemen in his family.
He began his career with his commission through the ROTC at the University of Tennessee. He entered active duty service in the U.S. Army in 1983 and participated in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
In 1995, he was assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division Support Command as the Assistant Operations/Combat Plans Offer and was promoted to Major. Col. West's cumulating assignment was as Battalion Commander of the 2d Battalion 20th Field Artillery, 4th Infantry Division. He deployed with his unit during the Iraq War in 2003.
After retiring from the Army in 2004, Col. West taught high school for a year before volunteering and deploying to Afghanistan as a civilian military adviser to the Afghan army, an assignment he finished in November 2007.
In November of 2010, Col. West was elected to the United States Congress, representing Florida's 22nd District. He introduced seven major pieces of legislation and was the original sponsor of H. R. 1246, which reduces costs at the Department of Defense and was passed unanimously. President Obama signed the legislation signed into law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. Congressman West voted for the Balanced Budget Amendment and over 30 different bills designed to empower small businesses, reduce government barriers to job creation, boost American competitiveness, encourage entrepreneurship and growth, and maximize American energy production.
Col. West is a Senior Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, a Fox News Contributor, and author of Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin's Journey to Family, Faith and Freedom.
Currently, Col. West is Executive Director and Vice Chairman of the Board at the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization. The NCPAs goal is to develop and promote private, free- market alternatives to government regulation and control, solving problems by relying on the strength of the competitive, entrepreneurial private sector. One of the NCPA's major areas of focus is healthcare policy.
Views on fitness
Col. West believes that overall fitness involves three things: physical fitness, mental fitness and spiritual fitness. "The first and most important thing is to be careful of the foods you're eating and to have a healthy lifestyle," he said. Col. West continues his fitness routine from the military, including running and calisthenics. "It's been part of my life and lifestyle, and I think it’s important to maintain," he said. Mental fitness includes staying engaged and reading.
Running is especially important to Col. West. He runs most mornings, which he says clears his mind, even when traveling for work. "I always travel with my running shoes," he said.
Family life and free time
Col. West is married to Dr. Angela Graham-West, PhD, MBA, a broker with a financial firm. They have two daughters, Aubrey, a graduate student pursuing her master"s degree and Austen, a college freshman. The family lives in Dallas, Texas.
In his free time, Col. West is a Master SCUBA diver and a motorcyclist. He also enjoys cheering his beloved Tennessee Volunteers.