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Men’s Health Week: Make the Appointment

June 16, 2011

MISSOULA, Mont. - A gentle reminder through Father's Day: It's time to make an appointment for a checkup. That's the message for National Men's Health Week in Montana.

Jill Baker, project director with the Montana Men's Clinic at Planned Parenthood of Montana, says the rumors are true that men often delay seeking health care until a condition is advanced. The Men's Clinic is designed to offer an entry point into the health care system for young men, with a focus on reproductive health.

"We do some preliminary screenings - especially for high blood pressure or diabetes. That way, we can catch some of these serious health conditions early, before they become a serious problem."

The Men's Clinic was established two years ago as a project to get men more involved in preventive care and family planning.

Baker says getting guys to feel comfortable in the health care system takes trust, and often, they are referred by female patients.

"We've made a concerted effort to try to make our clinics more gender-neutral and be more welcoming to men and still be welcoming to women."

The clinics in Missoula and Billings have nearly doubled the number of their male patients over the past two years.

Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MT