Men’s Health Matters to All of Us (Part 1)

December 2, 2021

Dr. Bashir Easter

Many studies reveal that men typically avoid going to the doctor. One study put the number as high as 60-percent. They would rather do anything, even clean the bathroom, or mow the lawn than go to the doctor. When it comes to mental health, the situation is worse. Men are less likely than women to seek mental health help for depression, substance addiction or stressful life events, including anxiety and trauma. The University of Wisconsin- Madison All of Us Milwaukee team at the Center for Community Engagement and Health Partnerships has created a series of Men’s Health Nights, with support from Unity Gospel House of Prayer, Raising the Bar non-profit and the Community Action Aging Resource Network (CAARN). Bashir Easter, Ph.D., assistant director of UW All of Us Milwaukee talks to us about the series.

Milwaukee Times: Dr. Easter, what is Men’s Health Night and how did it come about?

Dr. Bashir Easter: Men’s Health Night gives an opportunity for men to get together and talk about their health, and it came about organically in a place familiar to most men, the barbershop. I happened to see Pastor Marlon Lock from Unity Gospel House of Prayer at the barbershop, and I was talking about the need for men to know more about their health. He felt the same way. We brought it to Robert Jackson from Raising the Bar non-profit. We got the license for the film, Daddy’s Boys, produced by Garrett Davis that explores the impact of stress on Black men, and we were just all on one accord that the men in this community needed to see this. Pastor Lock had the building and access to Black male congregants, and Raising the Bar catered the food and provided equipment to show the film.

Milwaukee Times: What kind of response have you gotten from the men?

Dr. Bashir Easter: At our first event, we had 35 men show up to talk about stress. They received blood pressure checks and only four knew what the blood pressure numbers meant. So, we talked about how to use the numbers for optimal health, and the men just wanted to share. We did not even get to show the film because the discussion was so rich, and the men wanted to meet again. The second meeting didn’t get as many men, but we had some key leaders and influencers in the community. The leaders watched Garrett Davis’ mental health short film which talked about the impact of stress on African American men, and we knew that these sessions needed to continue.

Milwaukee Times: When is the next Men’s Night and what can men expect?

Dr. Bashir Easter: We have two virtual events coming up. First, we are calling all professionals to bring their expertise to help the men, catering to their mind, body and spirit. So, we’re looking for physicians, psychologists, therapists, pastors and any other professional interested. This session will be for planning and will take place on Tuesday, December 7 at 1 p.m. If you are a professional or provider who would like to be a resource for Men’s Night, please register for the December 7th planning meeting by scanning the QR code on the respective flyer or using this link: https://uwmadison.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJwpd-uhpjoiE9Tc9H_Y4Q9KZC_IpqJvXfIK.

Then Men’s Health Night III takes place on Friday, December 17 at 6 p.m. If you would like to register, scan the respective flyer or use this link: https://uwmadison.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMvdOmuqjwjGNATfy6nqeVDhMNKHnoTHSrm.

Milwaukee Times: Dr. Easter, why is men’s health important to All of Us?

Dr. Bashir Easter: As you know, All of Us is a national effort that aims to build the largest most diverse database of health information of its kind that researchers can use to study health and illness. We want to support researchers in efforts to understand how different genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors impact health and disease. With this information, researchers can look to improve the ways to diagnose, prevent, and treat health conditions. We have started enrolling and as a participant, you have the option to get your genetic return of results. I received mine and found out for sure that my body does not digest milk. I want other men to find out about their health. With this information, they can become their own, what we are calling community scientists. What they learn could improve our community’s overall health. For more information or to make an appointment to enroll, call (414) 219-3810, Option 1 or visit nationally, https://www.joinallofus.org/.