Rice President Reginald DesRoches participated in a TEDx Talk where he joined community leaders in a discussion on men’s health and the challenges of leading during a health crisis.

This TEDxSunnyside Salon event, organized in collaboration with the multicultural community relations team in the Office of Public Affairs, focused on men’s health and the challenges they face, specifically when it comes to men having a reluctance to go to the doctor, addressing serious health issues and implementing healthy dietary habits.

Sherman Desselle, Reginald DesRoches and Sylvester Turner speak during a TEDx Talk session at Rice University March 8.
From left: Sherman Desselle, Reginald DesRoches and Sylvester Turner. (Photos by Gustavo Raskosky)

Moderated by FOX 26 reporter Sherman Desselle, the event featured individual testimonies by former Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis as well as a panel discussion between DesRoches and Turner.

DesRoches and Turner both announced in 2022 that they had been diagnosed with cancer. DesRoches underwent surgery for prostate cancer, while Turner grappled with treatment for bone cancer.

The two shared their personal health journeys that impacted their leadership roles. And while both are now cancer-free, they emphasize the importance of regular checkups and doctor visits.

“The first lesson is to advocate for yourself,” DesRoches said. “When I found out my PSA levels were increasing, I encouraged my doctor to look deeper even though my PSA levels didn’t necessarily warrant a biopsy. I ended up being diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer.”

Sylvester Turner speaks during a TEDx Talk session at Rice University March 8.
Sylvester Turner

DesRoches said he initially struggled with the decision of whether or not he should make an announcement about his cancer diagnosis. But after being transparent with the Rice and Houston communities, he received an outpouring of support.

“I was just amazed at how many people I heard from afterwards — praying for me, thinking about me, thanking me for sharing my message,” he said. “I didn’t expect that. I mean people were thanking me because they had a similar situation, and they felt now that they could talk about their story.”

Turner shared his personal experience with a cancer diagnosis during his tenure as major and his treatment, highlighting the importance of seeking medical attention and prioritizing health, even during times of leadership.

Rodney Ellis speaks during a TEDx Talk session at Rice University March 8.
Rodney Ellis

“If you want to live, if you want to be around to take care of your family, if you want to be around to participate in the battle, you first have to take care of your health,” Turner said. “Listen to your body, it’s talking to you. And if you listen to your body and respond accordingly, you will live to see another day.”

Ellis speaks at length about health, diet and exercise habits among working men.

“I encourage you to find whatever your passion is in life and figure out how you do it in a healthy way,” Ellis said. “Have fun in what you do. And if you have a pain somewhere, don’t Google it because you’ll never go to sleep. Go to a doctor, and let them analyze it.”

Sherman Desselle, Reginald DesRoches and Sylvester Turner speak during a TEDx Talk session at Rice University March 8.Rodney Ellis, Reginald DesRoches and Sylvester Turner pose for a photo during a TEDx Talk session at Rice University March 8.

Rice President DesRoches joins men’s health discussion on TEDx Talk | Rice News | News and Media Relations
Tagged on:     

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *