seX & whY Episode 23, Part 1: Issues Surrounding Men’s Health

Jeannette WolfePodcast Episodes

Show Notes for Episode Twenty-Three of seX & whY: Issues Surrounding Men’s Health, Part 1

Host: Jeannette Wolfe
Peter Baker – Director of Global Action on Men’s Health
Twitter: @pbmenshealth @globalmenhealth

Dominick Shattuck has a PhD in psychology and does Global Health Work at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Here is a list of Peter Baker’s publications including Men’s Health Policy: it is Time for Action.

Here is a list of Dominick Shattuck’s publications

Take home points

  • Somewhat ironically even though most major health related organizations are dominated by men in senior positions, men’s health is often left out of the agenda. Some of this may be due to a zero-sum game mentality in that it is commonly viewed that the only way to fund men’s health is to take away funding from women’s health. This isn’t necessarily true, and it is important to remember that healthy families and communities are rooted in healthy parents regardless of their biological sex or gender. Men have about a 5-year shorter live span than women and are increased risk for diabetes, early hypertension, substance you disorder and suicide.
  • Peter noted that men’s health has not had the grassroots advocacy that many women’s health initiatives have had. He attributes this to a belief held by many men that they are strong and independent and as they value the perception of being able to tough things out, advocating for increased health access to medical and mental health resources may be at odds with their desired self-image.
  • We also discussed the different challenges that men compared to women may face when trying to increase their health literacy or navigate access to appropriate services. This is particularly evident in early adulthood.  During this young adult period, females often have an increased awareness of their body and health related issues due to fertility associated concerns, while for many men health related issues often fall off their radar and if they are discussed, the information may be poorly vetted and inaccurate.
  • We talked about this two and even three decades long health care desert where men can find themselves and in where they have little to no interaction with traditional health systems.
  • We then spoke a great deal about health messaging and the importance of getting the right message to the right men via the right platform. As Dominick noted, currently a great deal of health messaging is geared towards the category of men that Dominick refers to as “the low-lying fruit” in that they may already have access to a pcp and have good baseline health literacy. He feels strongly that there is a great opportunity to increase engagement with a broader variety of men by respecting their different values and tailoring messages to specific subsets using different types of platforms like integrating important public health messages into radio and TV series.

Please join us next month for a continuation of our conversation in which we will focus on issues surround men’s mental health and the roles that men may play in the shifting landscape of reproductive justice.