June is Men’s Health Month, a great time to remind American men and boys that they need to be prepared for emergencies. Steve Petty is director of community health improvement for Integris Health, Oklahoma’s largest hospital network, and administrative director of the network’s Men’s Health University, a health screening event for men. Check out what Petty, who is a member of APHA’s Men’s Health Caucus and the Men’s Health Network, recommends.
APHA recently partnered with March of Dimes to promote preparedness for pregnant mothers and families with infants. How can emergency readiness specifically improve men’s health?
Personal consideration and preparation for emergencies leads to a more confident and content state of mind. Having a plan for the critical actions during an emergency improves the chance that such individuals will escape harm. The entire family unit benefits from men who engage in emergency readiness planning.
You’ve spoken of the “silent health crisis” facing American men, who live on average five years fewer than women. One reason is because men take more risks. Does this put men at greater risk during public health disasters?
The life expectancy gap between men and women is, in many cases, due to our different biological makeup, but it is also the socialization and lifestyles which highly influence health outcomes. As young boys, many are taught that big boys don’t cry, leading to the “macho man” attitude where men are expected to ignore health concerns and push through the pain.
Also, studies that have been performed to date show some variations in mortality rates during disasters. Men are more likely to suffer severe consequences psychologically, like suicide, following a disaster.
They are less likely for the most part to seek care for emotional problems and often remain symptomatic for longer periods of time when compared to women. A few studies demonstrate that one response to stress — particularly following large-scale disasters — is that men increase the frequency of risk-taking behaviors.
It is thought that the increase in such risk taking behavior might be decreased if men were encouraged to participate in debriefing or defusing activities.
Fill in the blanks for APHA’s Get Ready Blog readers and your Oklahoma City communities: “I pledge to help men prepare for emergencies by ________”
I have so many recommendations here, including:
• considering how we can promote emergency preparedness among men in the community;
• identifying “at risk” men following community disasters and providing access to counseling and support activities;
• providing education and operational training for emergency health care providers, community members and other major stakeholders regarding emergency preparedness and men;
• promoting the importance of men taking charge of their health/wellness for themselves and for the sake of their families; and
• creating awareness of the importance of regular health checkups with a physician or health care provider.
It’s also important for men — and women, for that matter — to have regular checkups, so that screening tests can detect health problems early, when they are easier to treat.
June is a great opportunity to set an appointment with your health care provider, or you can stop by one of the many health stations now found in retail settings. A great place to find the information you may need before and after that visit is the online Men’s Health Online Resource Center.
This article was originally published on the APHA Get Ready blog and can be found here.

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Celebrating 20 years of National Men’s Health Week

On June 23rd, 2014, posted in: News by Comments Off

June 9-15 was National Men’s Health Week, a health observance coordinated by the Men’s Health Network and celebrated each year as the week leading up to, and including, Father’s Day. The week, which coincides with June’s Men’s Health Month, is intended to “heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.”

Salvatore J. Giorgianni, Jr., PharmD, chair of APHA Men’s Health Caucus, shared his insight on the keys to men’s health — notably “awareness, prevention, education and family” — in a conversation with Public Health Newswire.

2014 marks 20 years since National Men’s Health Week, or NMHW, was passed by Congress and signed by then-U.S. President Bill Clinton. NMHW was sponsored by Senator Bob Dole and Congressman Bill Richardson and is celebrated each year as the week that ends on Father’s Day. Following the lead of Congress, governors of 47 states and Washington, D.C., joined by mayors of over 40 cities, have issued proclamations in 2014 creating Men’s Health Week in their jurisdictions.

In the 20 years since NMHW passage this outreach has encouraged the development of thousands of health awareness activities throughout the month of June both in the U.S. and around the globe. Corporations, hospital systems, clinics, the faith-based community, the public sector, and others highlight their services and reach out to boys, men and those that love them.

NMHW was built around four pillars: awareness, prevention, education and family. This has resulted in countless campaigns that focus on raising awareness about health issues affecting men and boys. The awareness and outreach does not involve men alone, but is also a family matter. Men’s health advocates, in particular those who are a part of the APHA Men’s Health Caucus, encourage all men, and especially dads, to become role models for their children and health leaders in the community — not only during this week but every week.

Recognizing that many diseases that affect boys and men can be prevented, outreach and events during NMHW week encourage men, boys and those who love them to develop positive health attitudes, engage in preventive behaviors, lead healthy lifestyles and seek timely medical advice and care.

Perhaps most importantly, these 20 years of activity have seen a marked improvement in the health and wellbeing of men and boys, with a dramatic improvement in life expectancy and surprising drops in key mortality indicators. There has been a steep drop among males in overall mortality, and corresponding improvements in the mortality rates for cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Tables illustrating those improvements can be found at Men’s Health Network.

The Men’s Health Caucus of APHA acknowledges the tireless work of the Men’s Health Network, a national non-profit organization, for its leadership in establishing this proclamation and its advocacy for over two decades to enhance the health of boys and men and their families.

This article was originally published on the public health newswire and can be found here.

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