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updated: 4/2/2013 10:09 AM

Men's Health Braintrust Publishes 'A Framework for Advancing the Overall Health and Wellness Of America's Boys and Men'

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Alice Alecu

(Washington, DC) -- Men's Health Braintrust, consisting of leading experts from various disciplines, is pleased to unveil its position paper, A Framework for Advancing the Overall Health and Wellness of America's Boys and Men--The first comprehensive cross-cutting analysis of the health and well-being of men, boys, and their families across the lifespan. This position paper defines needs and issues a call to action with emphasis on minority, low-income, and underserved males. It also recognizes the important role women play in improving the health and well-being of men and boys. You can access and download the paper at the following link www.menshealthnetwork.org/library/Dialogue1.pdf.

"Over 21 million men aged 18 to 64 lack health insurance, and even among those who have insurance, boys and men do not engage in health care and wellness services as early or consistently as they need to," said Salvatore J. Giorgianni, Jr., PharmD, Chair, Men's Health Caucus Constituency of the American Public Health Association and Science Advisor, Men's Health Network, and lead author of the paper. "This lack of engagement has had a dramatic sociological impact on the overall health of Americans. The lack of initiatives and public policies to address the needs of boys and men costs our system of care an estimated $148.7 billion annually, and impacts businesses, communities and families."

This position paper will serve as a resource for practitioners, community health workers, policymakers, researchers, public health professionals, and others who are searching for ways to improve the health and well-being of men, boys, and their families. It sets out a bold agenda to reverse the deteriorating health of the American male, and emphasizes the importance of reaching out to men and boys when implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

"Implementation of the ACA and the concurrent restructuring of health care services provide an important and unique window of opportunity to engage boys and men in meaningful ways to reduce male health disparities and their impact on our economy, families and communities," said Giorgianni. "This Framework paper provides not only important facts and figures regarding the sub-optimal health status of boys and men, including the shockingly poor health of many of our most venerable males, but also sets a challenge to reduce the mortality gap between American men and women by half within two generations."

"As the data reveals, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, with a higher prevalence for men," said Richard Allen Williams, MD, FACC, Clinical Professor of Medicine, UCLA School of Medicine and Founder, The Association of Black Cardiologists, and co-author. "Addressing conditions such as, stroke, atrial fibrillation (AFib), hypertension, and congestive heart failure is a crucial step which needs to be made to increase the lifespan for men and close the gender gap when it comes to mortality."

This is the first of a series of papers to be issued by the Braintrust and resulted from the landmark Dialogue on Men's Health conference held in Washington, DC in October of 2012. That conference was convened by nine cosponsoring organizations and featured participation by over 50 national medical, academic, and professional associations, and various agencies. Men's Health Network (MHN) serves as convener and coordinator for the Braintrust, and along with its partners is committed to continuing and broadening the Dialogue series.

"The position paper 'Framework for Advancing the Overall Health and Wellness of America's Boys and Men' places the gender specific dialogue of men's health within the larger national agenda for health care transformation," said Demetrius J. Porche, DNS, PhD, APRN, FAANP, FAAN, Dean and Professor, LSU School of Nursing, LSU Health Science Center and Editor, American Journal of Men's Health, and co-author. "This paper presents the changing paradigm of masculinity, positive health messaging and coaching, and male role modeling within the larger health care context. It represents a significant contribution to men's health literature and proposes an action agenda to advance the health and welfare of men and boys within a global context."

"It is important to address men's health issues by identifying their unique set of problems, which tends to be much different from the problems women are presented with," said William Silverman, DO, American Osteopathic Association and co-author. "Men are experiencing poorer access to the healthcare continuum; they also have different emotional, physiological, and psychological problems from women. If our society is to succeed in overcoming men's health issues, these questions must be explored and answered, and this framework is a great first step towards achieving that."

Men's Health Network (MHN) is a national non-profit organization whose mission is to reach men, boys, and their families where they live, work, play, and pray with health prevention messages and tools, screening programs, educational materials, advocacy opportunities, and patient navigation. Learn more about MHN at www.menshealthnetwork.org and follow us on Twitter @MensHlthNetwork.

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