Tuesday, 13 June 2017
Ensuring blokes are adequately represented in health research can be a difficult task at the best of times. But a new Men’s Health Register being launched by the University of Adelaide this week aims to overcome this.
The register is being launched by the Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men’s Health at the University of Adelaide to coincide with national Men’s Health Week (June 12–18).
"Our new register is effectively a 'captive audience' of men who are willing to help expert teams undertake research to achieve better health outcomes for men," says Dr Camille Short, behavioural scientist with the Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men's Health, Adelaide Medical School, University of Adelaide.
Dr Short, who has established the register, knows too well the challenges of recruiting men for research: "At best currently, we can only get a representation of about 25-30% of men involved in our health studies compared with women. This really limits our ability to learn what works for men, and how we can better design services and treatments that best meets their needs and preferences. We need to change this so that our healthcare system works for men."
Dr Sean Martin, a men’s health researcher at the Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men’s Health, says: "By having guys sign up to our new register, they can directly engage in the process of health research."
After signing up, men will be regularly contacted about studies that may be of interest to them. They can choose to take part in surveys, studies testing new services and programs, or treatments for common issues affecting men.
These include studies on exercise and nutrition, chronic disease, depression, sexual and reproductive health, parenting, prostate cancer, workplace injury, and many more.
"An added benefit of the register is that men can also opt to receive the latest men’s health information straight from a credible source," Dr Martin says.
Dr Martin believes the register will impact on the efficiency with which the Centre can generate research, given it will quickly pool together a group of willing men from all walks of life.
"It’s great to see a shift in awareness about the need for more men’s health research in addressing the differences between males and females, and between different groups of men, in health outcomes.
"Most of us know that men’s attitudes and behaviours towards their health often differ between sub-groups of men, and certainly differ from that of most women. It’s important we capture this difference in our research if we’re to plot the best way forward," Dr Martin says.
Australian men can register online here: adelaide.edu.au/menshealth/register