April 6, 2015

(202) 543-6461 ext. 101

Bi-Partisan Congressional Men’s Health Caucus Established

Congressman Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ) and Congressman Markwayne Mullin (R-OK)

(Washington, DC) – Congressman Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) and Congressman Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ) have joined together in a bi-partisan effort to improve the health and wellbeing of men and boys by co-chairing the newly reauthorized Congressional Men’s Health Caucus.

The Caucus is dedicated to raising awareness of male health issues, encouraging men and boys to take an active role in their personal health, and promoting legislation that will have a positive impact on the health of American men, boys, and their families. The Caucus will work closely with Men’s Health Network (MHN), a nationally-recognized non-profit, to ensure that health issues affecting men and boys have a place in government healthcare priorities.

“I am pleased to join Congressman Markwayne Mullin in leading the Congressional Men’s Health Caucus,” said Congressman Payne, Jr. “After witnessing my father lose his battle to colorectal cancer, it became my mission to raise awareness about the importance of preventive care and to help reduce health disparities across diseases, from cancer to diabetes. As co-chair of the Caucus, I look forward to continuing this important work and to encouraging men to be proactive about their health.”

“I consider fitness a necessity to a good life,” said Congressman Mullin.  “So I’m proud to help lead the Men’s Health Caucus in its mission to promote healthy living across the country.  It’s incredibly important that our nation’s youth understand how to exercise and eat right so that they can live healthy, productive lives.”

The Caucus has again established a Prostate Cancer Task Force, which is charged with increasing the public’s awareness of prostate cancer—the most prevalent form of cancer in men. The Task Force will highlight outreach to three groups that have especially high risk of developing prostate cancer: African Americans, Veterans exposed to Agent Orange, and individuals with a family history of the disease.

The Caucus also aims to focus on topics of importance to military veterans. Seventy to eighty percent of veterans don’t use the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for their health care, and many suffer from physical or mental conditions related to their military service.

“Men live sicker and die younger than women. They have unique risks at each stage of life,” said Dr. David Gremillion, who sits on the Men’s Health Network Board of Directors and is a former President of the Society of Air Force Physicians.  “Men's Health Network greatly appreciates the commitment of the Men's Health Caucus for their efforts on behalf of improving the health status of men, including veterans of the Armed Services.”

In previous sessions the Caucus, working with Men’s Health Network, has led briefings on topics such as prostate cancer screening, traumatic brain injury and urological health issues.  The Caucus plans to continue these efforts to educate Congress and the general public about important topics in male health.

“Men's health issues have never existed in a vacuum,” said Dr. Jean Bonhomme, Founder and Executive Director of the National Black Men’s Health Network and member of the Men’s Health Network Board of Directors.  “Premature, unnecessary male death, illness and disability negatively impact the economy as a whole, causing lost hours from work, diminished work productivity, and the added expense of training replacement workers. Men's illnesses impair family stability and can undermine the health of women and children directly, emotionally and economically.  The establishment of a Congressional Men's Health Caucus promises benefits to society reaching far beyond men as a demographic and is an indispensable step towards building a complete and inclusive health care system.”

Steve Petty, Chair of the American Public Health Association (APHA) Men’s Health Caucus, added, “The APHA Men’s Health Caucus has been working hand in hand with Men’s Health Network to continue our strategy of promoting the importance of male health across the United States. Working on the same goals as the Congressional Men’s Health Caucus, we can increase the scope and reach of our messages, and dramatically impact male health across the country.”