WASHINGTON -- During an unprecedented Dialogue on Men's Health on Friday, Jan. 8, the White House outlined new health priorities for men in America, enlisting the help of dozens of public and private sector organizations to fulfill those goals. Assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary Broderick Johnson joined U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy on to lead the Dialogue.
Alongside the White House Director of National Drug Control Policy, Michael Botticelli, and Kenneth Braswell, the Director of National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse, the Administration conveyed a message of hope to find effective ways to engage men in their own health and well being, and introduced a variety of speakers to share unique strategies in men's health education and outreach.
Organized by the Department of Health and Human Services in collaboration with Men’s Health Network (MHN) and Disruptive Women in Health Care, the Dialogue drew over 200 participants to a packed and energized auditorium. Among the list of guest speakers were three NFL teams, healthcare technology developers, and nonprofit organizations including Boy Scouts of America.
Men’s Health Network has more information about the Jan. 8 White House Dialogue, including an archived webcast of the event, here: www.DialogueonMensHealth.com. MHN will continue to update and add materials to the page as more health and outreach opportunities are continuing to grow from the Friday event.
“We were very pleased with this event and all of the excitement around advancing boys’ and men’s health,” said Brandon Leonard, Director of Strategic Initiatives at MHN. “The stories and programs that were shared are truly inspiring, and we look forward to continuing this momentum with our federal government partners as well as all of the organizations represented and many more around the country who are dedicated to this important cause.”
Lack of healthcare and an overall lack of engagement among American men is contributing to a large-scale health deficit in the U.S. Men have higher mortality rates for nine of the top ten causes of death, and men also die five years earlier than women, on average.
"What did I take away from this? The first thing was hope. Hope for boys. Hope for men. Hope for healthcare. Hope that my vision is a shared one," said Dr. Paul Turek, Director of the Turek Clinic and one of the participants in the White House Dialogue.
Doctors, private businesses, nonprofits and activists alike offered strategies to tackle male health issues from a variety of angles. One researcher discovered humor as one of the most successful ways to reach working-age men struggling with mental health issues like depression and anxiety. NFL organizations, like the Washington Redskins, reaffirmed commitments to supporting their local communities with physical exercise and nutrition programs.
Dennis Moore, the vice president of sales and marketing for the Denver Broncos, shared the strategy behind the team's unique men's health awareness campaign. At the two-minute warning before halftime in November, fans in the stadium donned fake orange moustaches. It set a new Guinness World Record for most fake moustaches worn at the same time in the same location (beating the previous record set at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Fairfield, Iowa).
"Our goal is for Denver Broncos fans to be the healthiest fans in all of the NFL," said Moore.
The representatives were also very candid about their failures, as well. Particularly on the health technology development side of the Dialogue, the failures served as both a reminder of the hard road ahead, and the progress already made.
“The Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage where I work as a clinician has, over the past 6 years, developed a multi-tiered system of care access with a variety of primary care models and welcomed the opportunity to share what’s been learned here,” said Dr. Gregory Pecchia, another participant in the Dialogue. “This unique session allowed us to take away ‘lessons learned’ from others in completely different settings facing challenges specific to their served populations that will help to broaden our perspective and reach out in new ways for supporting the health and wellness needs of our local community.”
Men's Health Network (MHN) is an international non-profit organization whose mission is to reach men, boys, and their families where they live, work, play, and pray with health awareness messages and tools, screening programs, educational materials, advocacy opportunities, and patient navigation. Learn more about MHN at www.menshealthnetwork.org and follow them on Twitter @MensHlthNetwork and Facebook at www.facebook.com/menshealthnetwork. For more information on MHN's ongoing Dialogue on Men's Health series, visit www.dialogueonmenshealth.com.