The report card on African-American health is grim:

*African Americans have the highest death rate for cancer than any racial and ethnic group in the US.

*The death rate for Black Americans with diabetes is 40% higher than other races and cultures.

*Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness among African-American men and women.

*African-Americans have twice as many strokes as white americans, and black women are more likely to get heart disease and die from complications than any other group.

Experts say these inequalities are linked to glaring social and economic disparities in work, wealth, income, education and housing. And the fact that millions of African-Americans have no health insurance further compounds these problems.

But there’s also a glimmer of hope…

A growing number of African-Americans are embracing African healing traditions and other alternative health practices that can help save lives, leading experts say.

“There are aspects of health that are not being met by modern science,” says Charles Finch M.D., a physician and scholar who has worked extensively with traditional healers in West Africa. Finch believes modern science has a lot to learn from African healers.

A graduate of Yale University and the Thomas Jefferson School of Medicine, Finch blasts the Western medical establishment for suppressing indigenous healing systems and ridiculing traditional healers who have been providing outstanding health care for thousands of years.

African healers are highly trained and can often diagnose and treat illnesses using spiritual methods long before their Western counterparts can even detect them, Finch says.

Divination is the key to understanding what is happening with the client. Ifa divination, a system that originated with the Yorubas of Southwest Nigeria, is the most popular from of divination in the West. This ancient system can also be found in Santeria, an Afro-Cuban spiritual tradition that blends Yoruba religion and Roman Catholicism.

David Cumes M.D, a South-African born surgeon who has also been initiated and trained as a sangoma, or healer, is also a firm believer in the efficacy of African healing traditions.

“African healers laugh at us,” says Cumes. “Africa has aboriginal spiritual technology that we are only now beginning to appreciate. Theirs is the original medicine. Western scientists believe that they are on the cutting edge of the new age of healing. However, we may have missed the boat entirely. We may be technical wizards, but when it comes to the human spirit, we are really only beginners.”

Finch and Cumes will share their insights in the upcoming documentary film, “Across The King’s River,” which explores how African healing traditions intersects with science.

James Weeks, producer of “Across The King’s River,” says one of the goals of the film is to clear up misconceptions about African healing traditions. The film will be directed by acclaimed director Stanley Nelson, whose latest film, “Freedom Riders,” won three Emmy Awards for outstanding picture.

For more information about “Across The King’s River,” visit