The recent American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting in Denver was a milestone for the discipline of ‘men’s health’. It was here that the Men’s Health Caucus (MHC) organized and met for the first time as a cohesive, functioning body of peers with a similar goal: to advance the discipline beyond our individual efforts into a new matrix of cross-institute collaboration and communication of said goals not only in an informal, disaggregated whisper, but into a collective, unified trumpeting of voices.
This post will not go through the innumerable reasons why men’s health needs to be thrust onto equal footing with maternal and child health, minority health, or any other specialty research group. As men, we experience increased mortality and morbidity in almost every major disease or social ill (i.e. most major cancer, HIV/AIDS, suicides, accidents, etc). Further, men’s life expectancy is much lower compared to women…perhaps up to 5 years less. But I will not expand this discussion. This information is something most of us are aware of but something that few of us want to engage in meaningful conversation and collective research…until now.
APHA was a milestone in so many more ways than even those intricately involved in the organization of the Men’s Health Caucus would even imagine. This collective effort allows men’s health issues, our health issues, to be heard on a national stage, not just at our respective universities, non-profits, or private enterprises. What most amazed me was the camaraderie and unity shared between members and interested parties of the Men’s Health Caucus. I commend all individuals who were paramount in organizing APHA’s Men’s Health Caucus.
This is a new and exciting time for men’s health research. This year has breathed new life into the flailing attempts to unify the professionals, volunteers, and stakeholders to advance our agenda as one homogenous body. APHA was a truly positive event in terms of networking and showmanship for men’s health. I encourage all readers to get involved with our efforts. We must continue to fight the good fight and keep piloting the course of our research towards achieving the respect, attention, and funding as other public health initiatives. Until then, semper fi.