HR 632

Menstuff® has compiled information on the issue ofthe Men's Health Act of 2001. There are more boys born than girls. Under 5, there are almost 500,000 more boys. This number keeps decreasing and at 30, there are fewer men than women. The Federal Government has established 5 commissions on Women's Health and, while a Men's Health commission has been proposed before, it never survived, and with it, many men didn't survive who might have been helped by its passage. On Valentine's Day, 52 members of the House of Representatives started the ball rolling again. It's up to you, now. (Bookmark the following for Bill Summary and Status:

Men's Health Act 2001

Related Resources: Office of Men's Health

Men's Health Act 2001

On February 21, 1998, President Clinton announced an Initiative to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities (see It seemed like a good idea at the time, but when the specific plan came out, men's health was on the short end of the stick:

1. The Cancer goal was going to address disparities in breast and cervical cancer, but was strangely silent when it came to any cancer disparities affecting men.

2. The HIV/AIDS goal was just as unfair. This is what it said: "We will establish educational outreach to all major medical providers to promote the current standard of clinical care for all persons living with HV/AIDS, including Medicaid-eligible women and children with HIV infection."

This carried major bias against men:

Study Disputes Claim of Exclusion of Women from Research

A recent analysis of over 100,000 clinical trials disputes the claim that women were shortchanged by medical research. Among the studies analyzed, 55% included both men and women, 12% were male-only, 11% were female-only, and 21% did not specify gender. Actual nose counts revealed 355,624 males and 550,743 females participated.

"Overall, we find little to support the perception that women have been underrepresented or understudied in trials," according to study author Curtis Meinert, head of the Center for Clinical Trials at Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health.

Based on the perception that women were often excluded from medical research, Congress has earmarked funds for women's health research. As a result, male participation in NIH research has declined from 45% in 1994 to 32% in 1998.

The study, published in the October 2000 issue of Controlled Clinical Trials, examined articles published in five leading medical journals in 1985, 1990, and 1995.

HR 632 Goes to the 107th Congress, 1st session

On Valentine's Day, 2001, the Men's Health Act was being introduced in Congress. The Men's Health Act will establish an Office of Men's Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Men's Health Act is a Valentine's Day gift for both men and women.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill introduced legislation today calling for the creation of a federal Office of Men's Health to promote research and education about diseases affecting American men.

Congressmen Randy Cunningham (R-CA) and James McDermott (D-WA) told reporters and supporters gathered in the Capitol that the office was needed because too many men are conditioned to ignore their health and to avoid going to the doctor.

As a result, they said, men's overall life expectancy has gone from being equal to women's in 1920 to being more than 6 years shorter today. Meanwhile, men are 25% less likely to visit a doctor than are women.

"This office will help to raise awareness about threats to men's health and hopefully we can reduce the number of men who die each year from treatable diseases," Cunningham said.

The bill calls for an office within the Department of Health and Human Services coordinate the fragmented men's health awareness, prevention, and research efforts now being conducted by federal and state government. An Office of Men's Health, styled after the Office of Women's Health, will be well placed to coordinate outreach and awareness efforts on the federal and state levels, promote preventative health behaviors, and provide a vehicle whereby researchers on men's health can network and share information and findings. Prostate cancer is chief among the diseases concerned. That disease killed 32,000 American men last year, according to the National Bureau of Health Statistics.

"The doctor in the Capitol here is always after us to get tested," said McDermott, himself a physician.

Both Congressmen stressed that the creation of an Office of Men's Health would not impinge on the funding or the status for the Office of Women's Health, which was created in 1990.

The bill garnered the support of the National Medical Association, which represents some 25,000 African American doctors across the country. NMA president Dr. Rodney Hood said that the office would help the "thousands of African American men (who) suffer disproportionately" from diseases including HIV, hypertension, and cancers.

Cunningham introduced similar legislation last year, only to have it stall before it could reach a vote. He blamed last year's lack of support on election year politics, adding that the roster of Congressional supporters the bill has garnered from across the political spectrum would help it pass during the 107th Congress.

Text of the Bill

To amend the Public Health Service Act to establish an Office of Men's Health. The bill has been referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

Section 1. Short Title.

This Act may be cited as the `Men's Health Act of 2001'.

Sec. 2. Findings.

The Congress finds as follows:

(1) A silent health crisis is affecting the health and well-being of America's men.

(2) While this health crisis is of particular concern to men, it is also a concern for women regarding their fathers, husbands, sons, and brothers.

(3) Men's health is a concern for employers who pay the costs of medical care, and lose productive employees.

(4) Men's health is a concern to Federal and State governments which absorb the enormous costs of premature death and disability, including the costs of caring for dependents left behind.

(5) The life expectancy gap between men and women has increased from one year in 1920 to almost six years in 1998.

(6) Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in the United States among men, accounting for 36 percent of all cancer cases.

(7) An estimated 180,000 men will be newly diagnosed with prostate cancer this year alone, and 37,000 will die.

(8) Prostate cancer rates increase sharply with age, and more than 75 percent of such cases are diagnosed in men age 65 and older.

(9) The incidence of prostate cancer and the resulting mortality rate in African American men is twice that in white men.

(10) An estimated 7,200 men, ages 15 to 40, will be diagnosed this year with testicular cancer, and 400 of these men will die of this disease in 2001. A common reason for delay in treatment of this disease is a delay in seeking medical attention after discovering a testicular mass.

(11) Studies show that men are at least 25 percent less likely than women to visit a doctor, and are significantly less likely to have regular physician check-ups and obtain preventive screening tests for serious diseases.

(12) Appropriate use of tests such as prostate specific antigen (PSA) exams and blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol screens, in conjunction with clinical exams and self-testing, can result in the early detection of many problems and in increased survival rates.

(13) Educating men, their families, and health care providers about the importance of early detection of male health problems can result in reducing rates of mortality for male-specific diseases, as well as improve the health of America's men and its overall economic well-being.

(14) Recent scientific studies have shown that regular medical exams, preventive screenings, regular exercise, and healthy eating habits can help save lives.

(15) Establishing an Office of Men's Health is needed to investigate these findings and take such further actions as may be needed to promote men's health.


Sec. 3. Establishment of Office of Men's Health.

(a) In General- Title XVII of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300u et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following section:

Office of Men's Health

Sec. 1711. The Secretary shall establish within the Department of Health and Human Services an office to be known as the Office of Men's Health, which shall be headed by a director appointed by the Secretary. The Secretary, acting through the Director of the Office, shall coordinate and promote the status of men's health in the United States.'.

(b) Report- Not later than two years after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, acting through the Director of the Office of Men's Health, shall submit to the Congress a report describing the activities of such Office, including findings that the Director has made regarding men's health.

Press Conference Comments

Speakers at the February 14, 2001 Press Conference on the Introduction of the Men's Health Act of 2001:

• Jim McDermott (D-WA), a physician and one of the sponsors of the bill, highlighted the problem of men who delay seeking medical treatment until it's too late: "By the time you see them, they're untreatable."

• Duke Cunningham (R-CA), the other co-sponsor and a prostate cancer survivor, compared his experience being told he had prostate cancer as being more frightening than parachuting into North Vietnam.

• Rodney Hood, MD, President of the National Medical Association, highlighted the importance of the Office of Men's Health for African-American men.

• Betty Gallo, widow of former New Jersey Congressman Dean Gallo, who died of prostate cancer, lamented the seven Valentine's Days that had passed since her husband died in 1994 of prostate cancer, and emphasized that improving men's health will benefit women, too.

• Jean Bonhomme, MD of Emory University, noting how often people refer to cancer in men as "prostrate" cancer, asked, "What does it say about our society that so many persons can't spell or pronounce the word 'prostate.'?"

• Armin Brott, well-known author of books on fatherhood, spoke eloquently of his personal struggles to seek medical attention for his own health problems.

• Steve Perrine, editorial creative director at Men's Health magazine, claimed the leading killer of men is not heart disease or cancer, but rather "denial" of our own health needs.

• Finally, a letter was read from Ali Torre, wife of New York Yankees Manager and prostate cancer survivor Joe Torre. Ali Torre wrote: "While we have made great strides in bringing women's health to the forefront, now the time is right to do the same for men."

Words from Congressional friends of healthy families

Congressional friends of healthy families joined together to make this a truly bipartisan bill, with strong support from members of the Women's Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus. Reps. Cunningham and McDermott held a press conference in the House Appropriations room in the U.S. Capitol to announce the bill. The room was packed to overflowing.

The press conference was attended by the mainstream men's health medical community including representatives of the American Foundation for Urologic Disease, National Prostate Cancer Coalition, Men's Health Network, American Urological Association, Gallo Prostate Cancer Center, CaP CURE, and the National Black Men's Health Network. Dr. Rodney Hood of the National Medical Association addressed the health concerns of minority men. Steve Perrine of Men's Health Magazine attended to lend support and promise leadership in the fight to pass the bill.

Letters of support were presented from:

American Foundation for Urologic Disease, American Trauma Forensic Institute, American Urologic Association, CaP CURE, Dean and Betty Gallo Prostate Cancer Center, Health Care Institute of New Jersey, Men's Health Network, National Black Men's Health Network, National Prostate Cancer Coalition.

Also presented were letters of support from numerous medical and mental health professionals and hundreds of individuals who have written their Congressional member in support of this legislation.

A special note of support was sent by Ali Torre, wife of New York Yankees manager Joe Torre. Mrs. Torre's comments were read by Tracie Snitker of the Men's Health Network.

Give a Call, Write a Letter

Right now, there are five offices of women's health, but no offices of men's health. Please support the Office of Men's Health. Call your Representative at 202.225.3121. Be sure to refer to the MHA by its bill number -- HR 632 -- in all future correspondence you have with your Representative. There are currently 52 co-sponsors of the bill. (Does your representative care about men's health?) It's time to write a letter to Secretary Tommy Thompson. Here's a sample letter or write your own:

February 20, 2001

Secretary Tommy Thompson
200 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20201

RE: Office of Men's Health

Dear Secy. Thompson:

[Explain you are writing to request him to establish the Office of Men's Health, and include the Office of Men's Health in the budget that he will be sending to Congress in a few weeks.]

To persuade him a little bit, feel free to add your experiences, or any of these points:

• Men die 6 years early in this country, which translates into 30,000 excess male death every year.
• According to the recent Men's Health America survey, men's health programs lag in DHHS by a 5:1 margin.
• Only 32% of participants in NIH research studies are male.
• When men die, women and children are also hurt.


[your name]

Time Is of the Essence (3/5/01)

Please fax and mail this letter to your two Senators. You can get your Senators' fax numbers by calling 202.225.3121. Of course, if you can modify the letter to make it reflect your personal experiences, that will make the letter more effective. I'm just trying to make it a little easier for you.

[Senator's name]
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

RE: DHHS Office of Men's Health

Dear Senator __________:

As you may know, men's health programs lag by a 5:1 margin in the Department of Health and Human Services. But sadly, it's men who die 6 years sooner in this country.

Two weeks ago, 40 members of the House of Representatives signed a letter requesting DHHS Secretary Thompson to administratively establish an Office of Men's Health.

We have not yet heard from Mr. Thompson, so we are now asking for you to speak out on behalf of all of your constituents --- men, women, and children --- who care about the health and lives of men.

Please contact Secretary Thompson's office at 202-690-7000, and urge him to establish the Office of Men's Health. Time is of the essence, so please do it today.

Thank you.


HR 632 House of Representative Sponsors

Is your representative on this list?  If you, it behoves you to find out why.

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