Those of us who work in men’s health are no strangers to frustration. Despite years of effort, men still die in greater numbers (and at younger ages) then women of nine of the top ten causes of death. And men’s health issues get a fraction of the public and private funding and the media attention that women’s health issues do. But there is hope—and 2016 might just be a breakout year, thanks to some very public recognition of men’s health by the White House.
In 2012, Men’s Health Network launched the Dialogue on Men’s Health series, which regularly brings together healthcare professionals, patient groups, community organizations, private corporations, and government agencies to address the unique challenges that confront men, boys, and their families. So you can imagine how delighted we were when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) asked MHN to help organize a Dialogue on Men’s Health event at the White House January 8, 2016. The goal of the White House event—and of all of the Dialogues—was to inspire, engage, motivate, and activate the private- and public sectors to make men’s health a priority. A lofty goal, but one that was achieved with remarkable success.
The White House location and the opening speakers (including Assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary Broderick Johnson, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, White House Director of National Drug Control Policy, Michael Botticelli, and Kenneth Braswell, the Director of National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse) left no doubt that the Administration is serious about the health of men and boys.
Twenty eight speakers captivated the audience of more than 230 people, representing more than 100 organizations from all across the country, sharing personal stories, best practices, and recommendations. That alone was a huge win. But there’s more: each participant was asked to make a commitment to a specific action he or she will take to bring awareness to—and improve—boys’ and men’s health.
Although it’s still early, we’re hoping to have a follow-up Dialogue in June, which is Men’s Health Month.
Click here for more information on the White House Dialogue on Men’s Health—including photos, a complete lineup of speakers and attendees, and video of selected speakers.
And click here for more info on the complete Dialogue on Men’s Heath series.