By Dr. Stephen Wright, Men’s Health Department Physician, Whittier Street Health Center
The purpose of Men’s Health Month is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. Men’s Health Month is celebrated across the country with screenings, health fairs, media appearances, and other health education and outreach activities. Whittier Street Health Center is deeply committed to raising awareness regarding men’s health. We have a nationally recognized Men’s Health department that focuses on wellness, prevention and eliminating the disparities in men’s health. We will be hosting our 16th annual Men’s Health Summit on June 25th, 2016 in our Community Education Room at Whittier Street Health Center. The theme for this year’s event is Building Healthier Families One Man at a Time. This event is free and open to all.
-What are the top five health issues affecting men in our community?
The top five health issues affecting men in our community mirror the top 5 health concerns nationally including: Heart disease, Stroke, Suicide and Depression, Lung Cancer and Prostate Cancer. Other top health risks for men include Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease/Respiratory Diseases, Alcohol use, Unintentional injuries and accidents, Kidney Disease, Liver Disease, Diabetes, Influenza and Pneumonia, Skin Cancer, HIV and AIDS.
Research has found that men die at higher rates than women from the top 10 causes of death, and men also die younger than women. The biggest problem men have, as it relates to their health, is the lack of health care monitoring earlier in life. As society places unrealistic expectations on young men “to be tough and ignore pain”, society may also share the blame for men not seeking out early and regular health care.
Compounding the issue, minority men are less likely than men in the majority to see a health care provider and receive timely preventive care. Reasons for these health disparities may be due to low income, lack of access to care, language and cultural differences and other barriers that often makes it difficult for minority groups to achieve good health.
-What services does Whittier offer to raise awareness related to men’s health?
Answering the call to help raise awareness of men’s health concerns, Mr. Sorel Bertrand, Director of the Men’s Health Program organizes Men’s Health Groups three times monthly. These lively, informative and interactive groups meet on Fridays and are offered in Haitian Creole, Spanish and in English. For each of the three groups, there is a guest speaker who is an expert in an area of men’s health presenting on the health topic of discussion.
Group members are encouraged to schedule and attend visits with their health care providers, to continue to improve their health and quality of life.
There are Whittier outreach programs that have been organized at Logan Airport where taxi drivers and other men working at the airport are offered health screenings and educated on health topics. They are invited to the Men’s Health Clinic for health management and health insurance enrollment. The outreach program also extends to churches and the health center’s Post-Prison Program, including transitional facilities that constitute a major portion of the Men’s Health Clinic.
Working closely with the other departments of the health center including the Diabetes Clinic, HIV Clinic, Behavioral Health, LGBT, Adult Medicine, Family Medicine, Dental Medicine, Ophthalmology and Physical Therapy, the Men’s Health Clinic is looking forward to continuing to address the health care needs of men in the community.
The Whittier Street Health Center staff continues to be highly supportive and instrumental in referring their patients, friends and family members to the Men’s Health Clinic.
-What are my top three tips to improve men’s health?
We encourage our men to follow up with their health care providers regularly, we encourage them to have their health screenings, and the most important tip is to have each of them take ownership and responsibility for their health.
Let’s make it our mission to have all family members seen by their health care providers regularly. Early and regular health care monitoring will help detect health issues and allow for early cure. Every member of the community is valued, and we want to take part in improving the health of each member.
For more information about our Men’s Health programs and services, please contact:
Sorel Bertrand, Men’s Health Manager
Phone: 617 989 3043