As International Men’s Health Week winds down on Friday June 16, UCF assistant professor of health sciences Michael Rovito continues to advocate for the establishment of a national men’s health office. That’s because none currently exist, although there are roughly a dozen offices dedicated to women’s health across the nation.
He wants to increase education about men’s health issues that often go overlooked. With the Men’s Health Initiative, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting healthy behavior and habits in the male community, Rovito is pushing for policy creation or change in regards to cancer screenings.
Currently, the United States Preventive Services Task Force, an institution that is influential in clinical practices and the driving force in many medical policies, advises against self-exams for testicular cancer because it may cause unnecessary anxiety surrounding the issue. However, the benefits of these exams outweigh the risks, Rovito said.
On a local level, Rovito and the MHI have been helping men in the Central Florida area through outreach events designed to educate both men and women on men’s health issues.
“You can actually almost see that change from a position of powerlessness to one of empowerment, that switch when you start talking to (patients) and they get a little bit more relaxed and they become more confident,” Rovito says. “That’s really a fulfilling feeling. The best part is you’re instrumental in helping that change in someone.”
Over the years, Rovito says he has seen a shift in the men’s health field and during these events toward a bigger emphasis on educating fathers about health and exploring their role in developing healthy behavior.