21 Jun June is National Men’s Health Month!
By Community Coalition’s Comms Staff
June is National Men’s Health Month! This month is all about encouraging the men in our lives to take care of themselves by eating better, exercising, and working to prevent chronic diseases. Health disparities are a major issue facing black and Latinx men in the United States. As a society, we need to recognize that men of color often face significant barriers to accessing healthcare, which can impact their ability to be fully present in their roles as fathers, husbands, and community members.
These disparities are driven by a range of factors, including chronic diseases, cancer, mental health, lack of access to healthcare, and systemic racism and discrimination. One of the most significant health disparities faced by black and Latinx men is a higher prevalence of chronic diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), black men are more likely to have high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease than their white counterparts. Black men also have notable higher rates of prostate cancer than any other group, and they often develop prostate cancer earlier.
Similarly, Latinx men are more likely to have diabetes and obesity than white men. These chronic diseases can lead to a range of complications, including kidney failure, blindness, and amputations. Another health disparity faced by black and Latinx men is a higher risk of certain types of cancer. For example, black men have a higher incidence of prostate cancer and are more likely to die from the disease than white men. Latinx men are more likely to be diagnosed with liver cancer and have a higher mortality rate from the disease. These disparities are due to a combination of genetic, environmental, and socioeconomic factors.
Recent California Legislation That Addresses Health Disparities
|Bill Number: CA A 128 (2021)||Establishes an equity dashboard, which shall be informed by the annual State Department of Public Health reporting on health disparities adopted by the legislature as part of public health infrastructure investments. Requires the California Health and Human Services Agency to submit an analysis identifying inequities in all major health and human services programs and possible strategies to address these inequities. Allocates funds for grants to community-based organizations to address health disparities.|
|Bill Number: CA A 133 (2021)||Requires the Department of Managed Health Care to convene a Health Equity and Quality Committee to make recommendations to the department for standard health equity and quality measures. Requires each Medi-Cal managed care plan to develop and maintain a beneficiary-centered population health management program that meets specified standards, including identifying and mitigating social determinants of health and reducing health disparities or inequities. Expands behavioral health and perinatal health initiatives to address disparities and social determinants of health.|
|Bill Number: CA A 1204 (2021)||Requires hospitals to prepare and annually submit an equity report to include an analysis of health status and access to care disparities on the basis of specified categories, including age, sex, and race. Also requires hospitals to prepare and submit a health equity plan to reduce disparities.|
|Bill Number: CA A 1407 (2021)||Requires approved nursing schools and programs to require implicit bias training.|
Mental health is another area where black and Latinx men face significant disparities. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), black men are more likely to experience mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, but are less likely to seek treatment. Latinx men are also less likely to seek mental health treatment, despite experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety related to discrimination and immigration status. One factor that contributes to health disparities among black and Latinx men is a lack of access to healthcare. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, black and Latinx men are more likely to be uninsured than others. This can make it difficult for them to get preventive care and manage chronic conditions.
Additionally, black and Latinx men may face barriers to accessing culturally competent care, which can lead to mistrust of the healthcare system and lower rates of healthcare utilization. Another factor that contributes to health disparities among black and Latinx men is systemic racism and discrimination. Black and Latinx men are more likely to experience discrimination in a range of settings, including healthcare, education, and employment. This discrimination can lead to chronic stress and trauma, which can have negative effects on physical and mental health.
So, what can be done to address these health disparities? One solution is to increase access to healthcare for black and Latinx men. This could include expanding Medicaid eligibility, increasing funding for community health centers, and investing in programs that provide culturally competent care. Additionally, efforts to increase diversity in the healthcare workforce could help to improve cultural competency and reduce mistrust of the healthcare system.
Another potential solution is to increase education and awareness of health disparities among black and Latinx men. More expansive and inclusive public health campaigns that focus on the specific health needs and allow Black and Brown men to talk about their health are needed. This is a perfect opportunity to create an environment that supports dialogue and action. Wear Blue to work during this period to show your support for the health and well-being of our boys and men. Here are a few ore suggestions to promote good health for our fathers, husbands, brothers, uncles, sons and nephews:
- Take Action: Make An Appointment
Early health screenings are crucial for maintaining good health and preventing serious illnesses. Prioritize your health and take advantage of available medical resources. St. John’s Community Health Clinics’ mission is to improve community health and reduce health disparities by delivering high quality, comprehensive services and impacting health and social policy. St. John’s offers medical services and mental health services to ensure health equity for our communities. The health clinics offer services to low-income, uninsured, and under-insured people. To find a clinic near you, go to St. John’s Community Health.
Likewise, Southern California Men’s Medical Group, now a clinical partner with Men’s Health Foundation, has provided culturally-sensitive, top-quality care—offering some of the best physicians in the country for more than 20 years, MHF is nationally renowned for its work in holistic health as well as HIV treatment and prevention. Specializing in men’s health and sexual health they treat cardiovascular disease, diabetes, HIV, hepatitis, aging, holistic health, cancer, behavioral health, ED, integrative medicine, and more. They take many public and private health plans, and if a patient is uninsured or underinsured, they work to serve them too. For questions or appointment scheduling, call 323-905-5675 or request an appointment online.
- Set some goals! Get moving this summer. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise per day to improve your physical and mental health. Take advantage of the nice weather and work out outside. Use this month to take stock of your health. Do you want to lose weight? Gain muscle? Simply eat more vegetables? Meditate more? Set small and achievable goals and work with your doctor to make them a reality.
- Take some personal time. Self care isn’t selfish. Lots of things that are good for your body are also good for your soul! Play some golf, get a massage, take an extra long nap. Your body and mind will thank you. It’s all healthy, and if anyone asks the occasion, you’ve got an answer at the ready: Men’s Health Month!
- Get Educated! Recommended readings:
Mens Health Network: Key Health Indicators
- NY Times: The Toll of Police Violence on Black People’s Mental Health
- Pew Research: Hispanic Americans’ experiences with health care
- Pew Research: Black Americans’ views about health disparities, experiences with health care
Supporting men’s health is crucial. It’s a great way to show your support for men’s health issues. Whether you’re headed to work or running errands, wearing blue is an easy way to get involved and help raise awareness. Be an ally to those you care about. Check out www.menshealthnetwork.org for more information and support.