Especially in these uncertain and changing times, no decision may be more difficult. Are you thinking of going back to school to work toward a new career, but don’t know exactly which careers will pay you back in the long run? Would you like to find a career path that you can build onto the one you already have?
I have been working in the field of men’s health for more than 40 years. For most of that time, I have felt like the lone wolf. If there was a focus on sex and gender, the emphasis was on women’s health. But increasingly these days I have come to believe that men’s health may be the best career choice for those who want to make a positive difference in the world, enjoy their work and make a great living. Here’s why:
1. Everyone wants to live well.
Good health is of primary importance to adults in our society. When polled about important social values, 99 percent of adults in the United States identiﬁed “being in good health” as one of their major concerns. Two other concerns expressed most often were good family life and good self-image, both of which are related to our health and well-being.
2. Health-care careers are in demand.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the health care and social assistance industry is going to be the greatest driver of jobs in the near future—by far. Specifically, the Department of Labor says these fields are expected to grow by 33 percent, or 5.7 million new jobs from 2010 to 2020, providing millions more jobs than any other industry.
3. Men live sicker and die sooner than women.
According to researcher Dr. Will Courtenay, author of the landmark book, Dying to Be Men, “For nearly all 15 leading causes of death [except Alzheimer’s], men and boys have high age-adjusted death rates than women and girls. This remains true in every age group throughout the life span.” Not only do men die sooner, but they live sicker than women. This is a tragedy for men, women and their children.
4. Improving men’s health is good for everyone.
Randolph Nesse, M.D. and colleagues at the University of Michigan examined premature deaths among men in twenty countries. Their findings are stimulating the next revolution in health care.
“Over 375,000 lives would be saved in a single year in the U.S. alone if men’s risk of dying was as low as women’s,” says Daniel J. Kruger, PhD. According to Dr. Nesse, “If you could make male mortality rates the same as female rates, you would do more good than curing cancer.”
5. Gender-Specific Medicine is emerging as a new discipline in health-care.
The field of Gender-Specific Medicine (GMS) is less than 20 years old. One of the founders, Marianne J. Legato, M.D., author of Eve’s Rib: The New Science of Gender-Specific Medicine and How It Can Save Your Life says, “Until now, we’ve acted as though men and women were essentially identical except for the differences in their reproduction function. In fact, information gathering over the past 20 years tells us that this is anything but true, and that everywhere we look, the two sexes are startlingly and unexpectedly different not only in their normal function but in the ways they experience illness.”
6. The field needs more focus on men.
Although it is acknowledged that there are significant differences in men’s and women’s health issues, the focus has been mostly on women’s health. This is likely because the field began by focusing on the unique health needs that concern women. We’re just beginning to focus attention on the unique needs of men.
For instance, since heart disease is more prevalent in men, the unique heart-health needs of women were neglected. Likewise, since depression is more common in women, the unique ways in which men experience depression is often overlooked.
7. Men Are Concerned About Their Health and Are Demanding Better Care.
When gender began to be an area of focus in health care, women came forward to demand care that spoke to their unique needs. More women went into the field and women’s health became a health-care specialty. When I first began treating men, it was difficult for me to get clients. Most men resisted getting help. That has changed dramatically in the last 20 years.
Men’s Health Magazine is the world’s largest men’s magazine brand, with a monthly circulation of 1.85 million and 12 million monthly readers in 39 countries. It is the top-selling magazine in the U.S. Millions of men are reaching out to get healthy and need guidance and support.
8. Trained Men’s Health Practitioners Are in Great Demand.
For more than 40 years I have made a good living as a men’s health practitioner. I see people in my office and also counsel men and women by phone. I am paid $250.00 per 50 minute session and usually have a waiting list. I get requests every day from people who are looking for men’s health practitioners, but are having a difficult time finding them. I hear the same thing from my colleagues. “We need more people who can serve the needs of men and the women who love them,” they tell me.
If you have tried to find a practitioner who specializes in men’s health issues, but have had difficulty locating one, I’d like to hear from you. If you have a passion for becoming a practitioner who would like to specialize in men’s health issues, I’d also like to hear from you.
Photo: Official U.S. Navy Imagery/Flickr