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Men’s Health

Men’s Health America 2000 ANNUAL REPORT   By any measure, the first year of the new Millenium was an extraordinary one for men’s health. These were the highlights: • Release of Healthy People 2010 on January 25, which, for the first time, committed the Department of Health and Human Services to eliminating the disparities of men’s health. • In Georgia, the March signing into law of a bill to establish a men’s health commission. • Publication of “Out of Touch: American Men and the Health Care System” by the Commonwealth Fund in March, which documented the widespread underutilization of health care services by men. • Publication of the U.S. General Accounting Office report on gender health research in May, which substantiated earlier reports of widespread underrepresentation of men in NIH research. • Observance of Men’s Health Week, June 11-17, throughout the United States. • Introduction of the Men’s Health Act on June 14 by Rep. Duke Cunningham of California, and later by Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, to establish an Office of Men’s Health in the DHHS. • Publication of a federal report in July revealing continued progress in eliminating the life span gender gap. The gap has now reached 5.7 years, down from a disparity of 7.6 years in 1970. • Announcement in the September issue of McCall’s magazine of the establishment of the educational organization, Women Against Prostate Cancer. • The establishment of a $9 million, 5-year trial by the National Institutes of Health to study the effectiveness of minimally invasive surgical therapies for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). • Passage of a law on December 20 in New York State requiring insurance companies to pay for prostate cancer screening. • Publication of theme issues on men’s health in the Journal of American College Health (May) and Business and Health magazine (October). • Unprecedented media coverage of men’s health issues, including articles in The Detroit News (9/20), (9/21), The Washington Times (11/5), and Boston Globe (11/15) highlighting the underrepresentation of men in medical research.   Men’s Health America is a research and education organization that is non-profit and tax-exempt. The mission of Men’s Health America is to eliminate the life span gender gap and other disparities affecting men’s health.   This Annual Report summarizes the activities and accomplishments of MHA in 2000. RESEARCH   The MHA research program centers around the compilation and documentation of the overall disparities affecting men’s health, especially among racial and ethnic minorities. Research efforts are also devoted to examining the causes of the underrepresentation of men in medical research. Professional Publications   MHA staff wrote several articles and letters that appeared in health professional publications: • “The new NCQA standards: What about the health of men?” ASBH Exchange, Spring 2000 (magazine of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities). • “Patients 65 years of age or older in cancer-treatment trials.” New England Journal of Medicine 2000; 342: 1531. • “NCQA gender-specific standards: Is there a place for men’s health?” Managed Care Quarterly 2000; 8: 47-51. • “Long-term neuroendocrine effects of childhood maltreatment.” Journal of the American Medical Association 2000; 284: 2321. • A letter to the editor on the disparities in international men’s health has been accepted and will be appearing in 2001 in the American Journal of Public Health.   During 2000, MHA staff completed three other scientific articles that are currently undergoing peer-review at professional journals: • “The Health of Fathers. I: Procreation, Pregnancy, and the Puerperium” • “The Health of Fathers. II: Parenthood, Divorce, and Child Custody” • “Did Medical Research Routinely Exclude Women? An Examination of the Evidence” Fact Sheets:   Men’s Health America researched and published the following Fact Sheets, which are available in print or downloadable formats: • Whatever Happened to Men’s Health? • The Crisis in Minority Men’s Health • Men’s Health is a Women’s Issue • Men Shortchanged by Medical Research? • The Health of Boys: Caring for Themselves, Caring for Others • Domestic Violence: An Equal Opportunity Problem • A Caring Biological Father: Critical Link to Improving the Health of Children • Men’s Health: Newest Challenge to Healthy People Report on Gender Representation in NIH Research   On November 1, 2000, MHA released its report, “Were Women Excluded From Medical Research? Rhetoric and Reality.” A press conference was held shortly afterwards in Boston in conjunction with the annual convention of the American Public Health Association.   The report analyzed gender representation in medical research studies conducted by the National Institutes of Health, and revealed that as early as 1979, women were included in 96% of all NIH clinical trials. This report was widely disseminated to the media and others, and was the focus of articles that appeared in the Washington Times on November 5 and the Boston Globe on November 15. EDUCATION   Men’s Health America engages in extensive efforts to educate the public, healthcare professionals, and policymakers about men’s health. Website   The cornerstone of our educational effort is the MHA website, menshealth/. The website catalogues MHA Special Reports, key research, legislative developments, and media coverage of men’s health. There are 600 persons who regularly receive updates on men’s health via the website. Healthy People 2010   Healthy People is the nation’s blueprint for health initiatives. In previous years, MHA staff had made extensive recommendations on the Draft of Healthy People 2010.   On January 25, 2000, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released the official version of Healthy People 2010. One of the major goals of Healthy People 2010 is the elimination of all health disparities. The first health disparity listed is that of gender: “The second goal of Healthy People 2010 is to eliminate health disparities among segments of the population, including differences that occur by gender, race or ethnicity. . . Overall, men have a life expectancy that is 6 years less than that of women and have higher death rates for each of the 10 leading causes of death.”   For the first time, the federal government committed itself to the elimination of disparities affecting men’s health. The importance of this statement in placing men’s health on the national healthcare agenda is hard to overstate. Interface with Federal Agencies and Policymakers   In 1999, the National Institutes of Health published a fact sheet, “Women Hold up Half the Sky,” which incorrectly stated, “Historically, research studies were conducted only with men.” Since women had routinely participated in NIH research studies, MHA contacted the NIH and requested that this factual error be corrected. On November 27, the NIH wrote to Men’s Health America and agreed to make the change.   MHA staff held discussions with policymakers from the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Committee for Quality Assurance, Congressional staff members, and others to explore ways of reducing the disparities of men’s health. Media Coverage   MHA maintains a listing of health reporters in the print and electronic media around the country. MHA staff is regularly contacted by media representatives about men’s health issues. We were interviewed for articles that appeared in the Washington Times, Associated Press, USA Today, and Business and Health magazine.   MHA staff wrote the article, “Father’s health takes the spotlight” which appeared in the Winter 2000 issue of Fatherhood Today. Presentations   Finally, MHA staff made presentations or staffed exhibit booths at the following conferences or groups: • January 28: “Reaching Minority Men: Key to Eliminating Racial Disparities.” Healthy People 2010 Consortium, Washington, DC • May 30-31: NPCL International Fatherhood Conference, New York City • June 2: Maryland Public Health Association, Mt. Airy, MD • November 11: Healthy People 2010 Consortium Meeting, Boston • November 13: “Innovative Practices: Eliminating the Mortality Disparities of Men,” American Public Health Association Annual Convention, Boston • November 14: “Probing the Life Span Gender Gap: International Perspectives.” American Public Health Association Annual Convention, Boston • December 11: Presentation on Men’s Health to Health Behavior and Health Promotion course, George Washington University School of Public Health 


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