A capacity crowd attended the men’s health forum, hosted by Westchester County Board Chairman Bill Ryan to mark National Men’s Health Month.  The forum was held at the Ridgeway Elementary School and was attended by over 40 residents, health care providers and professionals from across the White Plains. “Men take too many risks with their health.  Too many men smoke, eat a poor diet and generally live unhealthy lifestyles- -- even I did,” said Chairman Ryan.  “Poor use of community services by men has a direct impact on their health and wellbeing.   The purpose of this Men’s Health Forum was to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.  Part of being aware is looking at the impact of lifestyle choices on health, such as diet habits, smoking, lack of frequent medical check-ups and alcohol use.”

Materials were available for the men attending included information on prostate cancer, nutrition, men’s reproductive health, heart disease, HIV/AIDS prevention,  anxiety, stress and overall men’s’ health maintenance.  “The American Heart Association was thrilled to participate in an event that highlights men’s health,” said Taryn J. Branca, Executive Director of the American Heart Association in Fairfield and Westchester Counties.  “Every year in this country more than 410,000 men lose their battle against cardiovascular disease which is why it is vitally important for the American Heart Association to be present at events like these to educate the public about the dangers of heart disease and stroke.”

The forum, also, provided free prostate cancer, HIV and blood pressure screenings, as well as workshops on preventive care and healthy living. Expert speakers, discussing better healthcare options in men, included Dr. Seth Lerner, Chief of the Urology Section at White Plains Hospital Center, and Director of the Prostate Program at the Hospital’s Dickstein Cancer Treatment Center; Wendy Ledesma, Senior Clinician for Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic; Doreen Dorion, Marketing Associate from Whole Foods Market and Dr. Asaf Cohen of the Open Door Family Medical Centers. “Men’s reproductive and sexual health care is an important part of the services offered at Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic. We were proud to participate in the Men’s Health Forum,” said Reina Schiffrin, President/CEO, Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic.

On average, men live sicker and die younger than American women.  Men die at higher rates than women from the top 10 causes of death and they account for over 92% of workplace deaths.  Each year, men make ½ as many physician visits for preventive care.  Over 65% of men are less likely to see themselves as ill or susceptible to disease or injury when, in fact, the opposite is true. "Open Door was happy to be a part of this important event,” said Lindsay C. Farrell, MBA, FACMPE, President and CEO, Open Door Family Medical Center. “We have been caring for families in Westchester for over 35 years and look forward to continuing to do so.”

There is an ongoing, increasing and predominantly silent crisis in the health and well-being of American men. Due to a lack of awareness, poor health education, and a paucity of male-specific health programs, men’s health and well-being are deteriorating steadily.  “White Plains Hospital Center was very excited to have participated in this wellness event for the community,” said Jon B. Schandler, White Plains Hospital Center President and CEO.  “Good health is so important and we applaud Chairman Ryan for his commitment to promoting prevention and early detection in our community.”

Anchored by a Congressional health education program which designated June as Men’s Health Month, the honorary commemoration is celebrated across the country with screenings, health fairs, media appearances, and other health education and outreach activities.  "A healthy lifestyle, along with early detection means a life with more birthdays," said Rick Lepkowski, Vice President of the American Cancer Society in Westchester.  "The men’s health forum is great opportunity to remind men how crucial it is to prevent and detect cancers early.”  This month gives health care providers, public policy makers and individuals an opportunity to seek work together to increase awareness, provide access to services within the community and to speak frankly on the importance of men taking their health seriously. The response has been overwhelming with hundreds of awareness activities in the USA and around the globe.  “We believe that prevention is the best medicine and that includes early medical screenings, as well as physical fitness,” said Hélène Mogridge, YMCA Vice President WP YMCA. “A healthy community is a strong community.  Together we can make a difference.”

“One of the biggest risks to men’s health is their reluctance to seek help from their general practitioner or pharmacist or to take part in health improvement programs like weight-loss clinics.  That’s why this Men’s Health Forum was so important to me personally,” said Ryan.  It has been one year since Chairman Ryan’s emergency heart bypass surgery, Ryan advises men to visit their local community health center to develop plans for exercise, weight reduction, healthy eating and discuss other concerns. “The importance of having screenings done early is that you may prevent more difficulties later,” said Ryan. “Like me – and so many men -- they choose not to go to the doctor.  In my case, I know that had I not gone to see a doctor early, my condition would’ve have been much worse. Believe me…there’s no doubt that after the surgery, I got the message. However, since the surgery, I’ve tried to take better care of myself by exercising and watching what I eat.” 

Co-sponsors for the forum included the White Plains YMCA, White Plains Hospital Center, the American Cancer Society, Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic, Whole Foods Market, the American Heart Association, Apogee Pilates and Wellness Centers, the Open Door Family Medical Centers, the White Plains Council of Neighborhood Associations and New York Sports Club.