The EMHF’s lunch-time workshop was the one that everybody wanted at this year’s European Health Forum at Gastein.
This may have been because the publicity for the event, entitled ‘Grease – Get Your Hands Dirty’, featured MHF president Ian Banks, right, dressed up as John Travolta but it was probably thanks to the quality of the guest speakers.
They were John Bowis (president of Health First Europe and vice president of the European Health Forum Gastein), Professor Alan White (founder of the Centre of Men’s Health at Leeds Metropolitan University and chair of the EMHF board) and Dr Svend Aage Madsen (head of department at Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, president of the Men's Health Society, Denmark and vice chair of the EMHF), an impressive line-up.
Based on the metaphor of the male body as a motor needing maintenance, the thought-provoking discussion was, in my opinion, the best debate we have run so far at the EHF annual conference.
Professor White stressed the value of education and prevention, Dr Madsen the role of the trade unions and former MEP John Bowis the importance of involving politicians on an on-going basis and ensuring that they understand men’s health since they don’t at present.
Ian said: 'I think we all got an enormous amount out of it including the opportunity to wear some very fetching dark blue mechanics overalls from Haynes. We had lots of excellent feedback. I would like to thank all the sponsors, presenters, facilitators and the EHF for making this such a high note in the conference programme.'
Plans for 2012
The Forum plans to be prominent again at Gastein 2012. We are already discussing possible themes and have three so far: men’s health and the Olympics (looking at the role of exercise and diet); a mock trial of Primary Care and Men (building on our campaign to have a men’s health curriculum in every primary care training/education program in Europe); or a mock trial of Patient Information. The EMHF are about to launch a series of mens health manuals targeted at men in particular occupations and this debate would help inform the series.