Media Alert: Experts available for International Men's Health Week

Date: 15/06/2009

The University of Western Sydney Men's Health Information and Resource Centre (MHIRC), supported by NSW Health, has experts available for commentary during International Men's Health Week which begins today.

MHIRC is one of the coordinators of International Men's Health Week (15-21 June) in Australia.

The team has also helped the Federal Government in the preparation of the discussion document of the first ever men's health policy which will be released later this year.

Co-Director of MHIRC, Professor John Macdonald is one of the Federal Government's Men's Health Ambassadors and is a key participant in local forums on the issue held across the country.

"The forums don't deliver health messages to men, rather it's about listening to men. Men want to be heard and want their health needs met. They are interested in their health," says Professor Macdonald.

"The discussion document adds new dimension to the national debate by talking of 'man-friendly' services and the need to take on board the social determinants of men's health not just their behaviour."

Professor Macdonald's ambassador role complements the work of the MHIRC team where the focus has been shifting health programs away from seeing men as the problem.

"The UWS Men's Health team is acutely aware of the need for a cultural shift in society and the health profession - away from talk of 'masculinity' as being the problem in men's health towards rational, evidence based population health policy.

"The diversity of men's experiences need to be recognised and factored into men's health policies and programs, says Professor Macdonald, who is also Foundation Professor of Primary Health Care at the University of Western Sydney

The philosophy of Primary Health Care (PHC) encourages collaboration between clinical services and other sectors known to be important in building health, like education and social services.

"Primary Health Care calls for 'participation' through engagement with individuals and communities. These are important dimensions of any population health program and are very relevant for improving men's health," he says.

Other UWS experts are available to comment on the unique health and social challenges facing men and boys, and to discuss the positive steps males can take to improve their well being.
* Mr Micheal Woods has been Co-director of the Men's Health Information & Resource Centre since its inception in 1999. He is a Senior Lecturer in the College of Health and Science at UWS teaching in areas of Public Health.
He is also a registered psychologist with a particular interest in community psychology and the social basis of health and well-being.

* Mr Anthony Brown has been the coordinator of men's health week in NSW since 2001 and was part of the Australian delegation to the International Congress of Men's Health in 2002 which adopted the International Men's Health Week.

He is the project officer at MHIRC and assists groups and organisations working with men and boys by providing support, information and networking opportunities.

* Mr Rick Welsh is responsible for supporting Indigenous health groups across NSW.

For more information about International Men's Health Week, and to find out what is being planned in your local area please visit the website



Senior Media Officer

Paul Grocott
02 9678 7083, 0406 429 304