Listen to the voices of the youth participants
On June 7 and 8, 2018 over 100 national leaders from a range of interests and disciplines met in Washington DC to participate in the National Summit on Adolescent and Young Adult Male Health. The groundbreaking summit was sponsored by the Partnership for Male Youth, the first national organization whose sole mission is to address the unique and unmet health related needs of young males. The summit was supported through grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Allergan Foundation, Gilead and Merck. The summit was planned with advice and input from over 40 national organizations that serve male youth.
The summit was held to begin laying the groundwork for the Campaign for Male Youth. This marked the first time that stakeholders from disparate interests and disciplines convened in a national forum to discuss how they can work together, specifically through the Campaign, to ensure that young males thrive physically, mentally and in their life goals.
Young males were an integral part of the summit, participating in both panel presentations and workgroup sessions. As one participant described their presence: “The experts brought the science to the conversation; the young men brought the heart.”
Designed as a working event, the goal was to end it with a work product that could serve as the foundation for the Campaign. After two days of energetic discussions that goal was met with enthusiastic support for the Campaign by the participating organizations as well as the youth.
By the time they reach puberty, 80% of all adolescents stop seeing a pediatrician. Females typically transition to the care of gynecologists. Males, however, typically cease interacting with the health care system until they are much older. As a result, they often engage in risky and other behaviors that lead to preventable disease and disability that can last a lifetime. This presents a dual challenge: to ensure access to care and to engage young males in conversations about their health.
Now the Partnership, in collaboration with other national organizations, is taking on this challenge in the form of the Campaign for Male Youth (“Campaign”).
This challenge involves far more than the health care system. The social determinants of health impact AYA males in ways that are often unique to their gender and contribute to health inequity. These determinants include income and social status; social support networks; education; employment/working conditions; social environments; physical environments; personal health practices and coping skills; healthy child development; gender and culture. Caregivers and advocates within these realms are often disconnected from those within the health care system All stakeholders in young male health need to better understand the connection between these social determinants of health and health outcomes.
The Campaign is engaging these stakeholders in a collaborative effort to address the social determinants of health for young males. The purpose of the June summit was to begin the necessary cross-dialogue to make that happen.
The summit was structured with four keynotes and four plenary panel presentations. The panel presentations were each followed by workgroup sessions of eight participants apiece. Each workgroup included a male youth and individuals were assigned to ensure stakeholder diversity. These groups were charged with making recommendations for the Campaign based on the subjects of the plenary panel sessions. At the conclusion of the two-day meeting each workgroup presented their recommendations to the entire body of participants. Comments during the event and in a follow up survey were uniformly positive, in terms of both the content and the event format.
Listen to the words of the faculty
The Campaign for Male Youth Work Plan 2018
What follows is an initial Campaign work plan for the period ending October 31, 2018. It is based on the recommendations of summit workgroups.
Appoint and launch a Campaign Advisory Panel composed of subject experts representing diverse stakeholders in AYA male health (for example: education, juvenile justice, physical health, mental health, sports, faith communities).
The purpose of the Panel is to originate and review concepts and ideas for Campaign programs and activities and to oversee their implementation.
The Advisory Panel will review this workplan and the analysis of the summit outlined in 6. below, make recommendations regarding 5. below and advise PMY Board and staff on Campaign activities and programs, on both an on-going and ad-hoc basis.
Summit workgroup ideas for early (3-6 months) implementation:
Complete manuscript of summit proceedings for submission to publisher
Identify existing points of health care access for young males, and begin working with organizations that represent professionals in those environments (beginning with those that participated in the summit), to develop program concepts to educate them and young males about pertinent health issues. For example, school-based health clinics, emergency rooms, juvenile justice counselors, faith-based and community-based service providers.
Beginning with materials already developed by the Partnership, begin building an online clearinghouse of existing information on young male health.
Create and launch website and other social media platforms with information and messages that are specifically designed for stakeholders other than male youth (see below for male youth-focused efforts).
Appoint and launch a Campaign Youth Committee (appointed as of July 1, 2018)
The purpose of the Committee is to originate and review concepts and ideas for programs and activities. The initial committee is composed of nine of the youth that participated in the summit.
The Committee will
Review this workplan and the analysis of the summit outlined in 6. below and make recommendations regarding 5. below.
Provide advice on all social media outreach efforts aimed at male youth; and
Provide advice on activities and programs aimed at college male youth
Summit workgroup ideas for early (3 -6 months) implementation:
Hold an in-person meeting of the Committee to discuss their feedback on the summit and propose ideas for activities and programs.
Begin building the structure for college peer outreach programs to engage young males in campaigns that address specific issues; for example, mental health and substance use disorders, STIs, HIV, risk taking and norms of masculinity. The effort would be modeled on similar programs undertaken by other national organizations and partnerships (for example, Advocates for Youth, JED Foundation, American College Health Association, Proud2BMe, Active Minds).
Create and launch website and other social media platforms with health information and messages that are specifically designed for young males.
Reach out to the current list of actual and potential stakeholders (+225 that were invited to participate in the summit) to disseminate this summary and begin a landscape analysis of existing programs pertaining to AYA male health (both evidence-based and experimental).
Expand stakeholder list
Based on recommendations of the summit workgroups, the above processes and the summit proceedings, create short and long- term draft outlines for the Campaign that are based on specific desired outcomes. The outlines should incorporate major themes of the workgroup sessions. Among these were that the Campaign should:
Include a comprehensive, strategic communications plan;
Give special consideration to the unique needs of minority male youth;
Clearly identify the intended audience for each activity and ensure that the activity is developmentally appropriate for that audience; for example, age, race, religion and ethnicity;
Message using imagery and symbolism that is relatable, targeted to the intended audiences and is easy to understand;
Strive to design campaign programs so that their effectiveness can be evaluated;
Build a culture of health, based on a strengths-based model as utilized during the summit; and
Create a national network of male youth leaders, along the lines of the Parkland, Florida model
The outline should be disseminated to the full group of 225+ organizations and individuals that were invited to the summit, as well as others identified through the steps above, seeking comment and expressions of interest in participating in the National Campaign.
(Ongoing) Identify and enlist campaign participants and funders from:
NGO’s, including Foundations
Dennis J. Barbour
President and CEO
Partnership for Male Youth