Washington, D.C.–The 3rd Annual Men’s Health Roundtable (MHR) conference was held on June 23rd, bringing some of the nation’s health leaders together to address the current state of men’s health. Representatives from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Men’s Health Network and several other organizations met at the American Public Health Association (APHA) headquarters to engage in discussion on current research and policy and to highlight best practices for improving preconception care and reproductive life planning among boys and men.
Following opening remarks, guest panelists examined keys to improving men’s health.
Dr. Stuart Moss of the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development began his presentation by advocating a shift in how we view preconception care. Dr. Moss challenged traditional preconception methods—that largely place the burden on the woman—and illustrated how the health of the male has a biological impact on offspring. He cited an epigenetic study in which overweight male mice (who were intentionally fed a high protein diet so they became fat) were bred with healthy female mice. Subsequent DNA tests showed that, even though they were born a healthy weight, the offspring were predisposed to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and showed impairments in insulin regulation.
Dr. Allen Herman, Co-founder, Advocates for Men’s Health stole the show with his presentation based on 100 years of United States infant mortality data. Dr. Herman explained that this data, as well as, data on men’s health and health disparities is so expansive that the challenge is not the collection of information but interpreting it. Using some of this data, he revealed that his research directly links infant mortality to 1. Wealth disparities 2. Social determinants 3. Epigenetics 4. Access to care.
The panel also addressed barriers to achieving equitable men’s health care. These barriers were identified as: nomenclature, provider limitations, location, quality of care and lack of data application. Dr. David Johnson, Public Health Adviser for HHS recommended that policy makers create policies that deliver clinical/evidenced based information on males and train providers to effectively communicate with males in areas of preconception health/care, sexual assessments, substance abuse, mental health and chronic diseases. And providers should determine: How do we ask the right questions to get the useful information/data we need.
Members of the panel lauded PPE as an effective tool to improve men’s health across the nation. PPE will aim to leverage peer-to-peer, young men-to-young boys mentorship to create peer role models for young men and boys. PPE is also working with the panel to increase male involvement in the program.
Follow the Men’s Health Roundtable on Twitter using the hashtage #MensHealthMatters.