The health authority launched a men's health program last year with the release of a report by Dr. David Bowering, the former chief medical officer for the region, on the health and wellbeing of men and boys in the North. To continue that dialogue, Northern Health is offering 15 seed grants of $1,000 each to communities across the region to establish local, sustainable Men's Health Groups that will feed into a regional Men's Health Coalition.
"In a nutshell, the goal of the Men's Health Coalition is building a sustained conversation on men's health, whether it's through events, programs, speeches or presentations," said Brandon Grant, men's health coordinator for the health authority. "We (Northern Health) want something that will be an ongoing network of these Men's Health Groups so we can get guidance on how to improve health services and change the way we do business."
He said they will look to have stakeholders from industry and business, faith and cultural organizations, service clubs and other community-based groups collaborate on initiatives. He said an example of the kind of proposal they would be looking for is an event upcoming in one community in September that combines a golf tournament with men's health screenings and presentations.
"It's doing interesting and innovative things that will get men interested in coming down, but also having a health component to it," said Grant.
He said Northern Health hosted a series of public consultations across the North this spring in which some valuable information was shared about some of the roadblocks to men's health in the region. He said one factor is that men tend to equate being able to work with being healthy, so they feel they don't need to access health services if they are working. He said long work hours was another factor identified, and as a result, communities may have to look at offering health services at different times to accommodate work schedules.
Lifestyles in the North are definitely another factor, he added.
"There an atmosphere of 'working hard and playing hard,' and a lot of the time guys may not really make the connection between their lifestyles and healthy lifestyles."
The deadline for submitting applications for this grant opportunity is Dec. 31, 2011. Grant said the best way to learn more, and to obtain a copy of the application and terms of reference, is to contact him directly at (250) 645-6348 or send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Brandon.Grant@northernhealth.ca.
The full report by Dr. David Bowering can be viewed at: http://northernhealth.ca/Portals/0/Your_Health/MensHealth/northen-health-mens-health-report.pdf