By Jasminee Sahoye
An organization that helps men take control of their health and not to be complacent about and warning sign of ill feeling is hosting the first men’s health conference in Toronto this weekend at Ryerson University
According to Dr. Winston Issac, President and CEO of Walnut Foundation, the one-day event is opened to anyone interested in learning about men’s health and providing support to men with their health.
“I find that most men do not monitor their health the way women do unless they’re push to do so, whether that push comes from a spouse or a health condition. We’re trying to get away from the need for men to be pushed and for them to take responsibility for their health. Men do not put emphasis on their health until they face a severe challenge,” Dr. Issac, a Kittian native, told The Camera.
Dr. Isaac, who is the Director of the School of Health Services Management in the Faculty of Community Services at Ryerson University was the developer of the Health Information Management degree program in the School of Health Services Management. He has been a Senior Healthcare Administrator for a number of years in the Ontario Healthcare System.
He said that he decided to organize the conference because there are some conditions that men tend to “shy away from and don’t talk about and don’t seek early intervention so that they can have a good outcome. So we are pushing for men to monitor themselves. If something is happening with them and it’s caught in the early stages, they can get a cure rather than ending up with a chronic condition.”
A survivor of prostate cancer, Dr.Issac said had he not taken care of his health and heeded to the early signs of his illness, he would not have been cancer free for 10 years.
The conference will have sessions on Men, Masculinity and Health; conditions specific to men’s health and the role of supports in chronic health conditions. Sessions will be led by academics, survivors and healthcare and counseling professionals.
The keynote speaker is Dr. John Oliffe, Professor at the School of Nursing, University of British Columbia. His research is focused on gender-specific health promotion and intervention, particularly in relation to men’s health. He is interested in the intersection between masculinities and gender relations in the context of various men’s health issues including prostate cancer, depression and suicide, smoking, cardiac rehabilitation and immigrant men’s health.
He is currently involved with national and international men’s health studies. The findings drawn from his research and collaborations have featured in more than 200 academic conference presentations and workshops, and over 100 peer-reviewed publications.
Dr. Isaac is convinced that the conference will make a significant contribution to shift the focus from men’s urological conditions to that of total health. He states that the “prevailing thought in some circles that men’s health is primarily urological feeds into the stigma of sexual dysfunction and thus causes men not to be forthcoming in seeking help for health-related conditions until the situation becomes intolerable.”
As a member of the Black community, Dr. Issac is inviting others from the community to attend the conference and learn more about health issues associated with men.
For more information, please contact, Dr. Winston Isaac at 905 799 2759 or visit the website www.thewalnutfoundation.com