Online Program

Using peer mentorship models to connect men of color to care in Massachusetts

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Albert W. Pless, MS, Cambridge Public Health Department, Cambridge, MA
David Smith, MS, Springfield YMCA, Springfield, MA
Richard Harding, Cambridge Public Health Department, Cambridge, MA
Sanford Jeames, PhD, DHA, University of Massachusetts Amherst, MA
Dalton Skerritt, Whitter St. Health Center, Roxbury, MA
Stacey King, MS, Cambridge Public Health Department, Cambridge, MA
Men of color in the United States are disproportionately affected by chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, and prostate cancer, and are less likely to engage in preventive health behaviors. According to the CDC, men who report having been told their cholesterol was high increased from 29.6% (1999) to 39.6% (2009). In response to these issues, two programs in Massachusetts, the Men's Health League (Cambridge, MA) and the Men of Color Health Awareness (Springfield, MA) developed mentorship models for men in wellness programs. The men in each program, designated as community health advocates, are primarily volunteer groups of trained community residents and peers who are interested in health and can serve as mentors to men who are members of their personal networks. Regular trainings, outreach events, and social support methods result in more effective community reach and retention of clients. Program results show an increase in the percentage of men who engaged in more physical activity and healthier eating habits, both among “team members” as well as mentees. Mentors and participants have shown notable weight loss and increases in strength training. Pre and post survey instruments have also shown reduced levels of stress. Recruitment of participants for the programs in non-traditional settings (e.g. barbershops, workforce programs) resulted in >500 African American men who have participated in fitness and wellness programs. Finally, the two men's health programs are now sharing effective strategies to reach African American men and create opportunities for empowerment, leadership and participation in intervention programs.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Compare two program models effective in engaging black men in physical activity Describe the challenges related to and strategies for engaging men of color in healthy behaviors Describe the quantitative and qualitative impact of this community intervention on a group of men of color

Keyword(s): Male Health, African American

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I manage men's health programs, participate in research agenda development around men's health, and have presented on male health at 2 conferences previously.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.