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Happy Mother’s and Father’s Day!

In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson approved a Mother’s Day resolution that made the second Sunday in May a national holiday. The celebration of fatherhood in Catholic Europe (promoted by the Franciscans and supported by the Catholic Church) dates to the Middle Ages, as the feast day of St. Joseph on March 19th. However, it wasn’t until 1972 that Richard Nixon signed a proclamation making Father’s Day a federal holiday, designating the third Sunday in June. Many people have speculated why it took 58 years after Mother’s Day to make Father’s Day a national holiday. I’m sure you may have an opinion yourself. As for me, I blame men. 

Our Catholic faith teaches us about the value of each human being as an individual person of great importance. Sometimes men seem to forget that this starts with our own selves. Oh sure, many say that men are stronger because they are generally bigger and more muscular which makes them able to run faster and lift more. However, trust me as a doctor when I tell you that men are clearly the weaker sex when it comes to health. We all know that men die younger. They get liver disease, emphysema and ulcers twice as often. Work stress can lead to hypertension, heart attacks and stroke. Social isolation has been recognized as a risk factor for depression and heart disease. Men are four times as likely to die from suicide.

The reasons why men lag behind women in health are more than biological. Social factors such as stress and the lack of social networks, and behavioral factors such as risky activities, smoking, substance misuse, poor diet and the lack of exercise all combine to put many men at risk for major health problems.

And yet for all this, a Kaiser Family Foundation study found that in the previous two years, men reported seeing a healthcare provider only 75% of the time compared to women at 91% - a statistically significant difference. Fewer men receive counseling, check-ups, immunizations and screening exams such as cholesterol tests and colonoscopies as compared to women.
While Mother’s Day will probably always be a larger celebration we dare not miss, we need to think of the men in our lives and how we can make it easier for them to seek out care before it becomes too late. At Catholic Medical Center, we are trying to grease that wheel. We came out with a smart phone mobile app to make it easier for men (and women) to access care. In the App Store or Google Play, you can download our free app by searching for “CMC Connect.” From this app, one can find CMC locations, schedule appointments, and register for health classes/events. Now there is no excuse! Instead of another tie this June, how about you help your man get connected to something that will never go out of style: his own health.

Happy Mother’s and Father’s Day!

Dr. Joseph Pepe is the president and CEO of CMC Healthcare System: Catholic Medical Center, New England Heart & Vascular Institute, and several subsidiaries. He and his wife reside in Manchester, N.H.