My role


2004: the year the MHF came of age

In his annual Christmas message, MHF director Peter Baker says that 2004 was the year in which the Forum came of age. 

He describes this as 'another very successful year' in which we have 'made the transition from an organisation shouting from the sidelines to one actively engaged with an increasing range of partners in the implementation of a new approach to male health.'

The message in full: 

'It is difficult to know where to start but I think we can, with justification, claim that 2004, our tenth anniversary year, was when the Men's Health Forum truly came of age. We have made the transition from an organisation shouting from the sidelines to one actively engaged with an increasing range of partners in the implementation of a new approach to male health. This is reflected in the access we now have to ministers and Department of Health officials on a wide range of issues. The confidence they have in our work is demonstrated by the increasing support we now receive for our work on National Men's Health Week (NMHW) and other important projects.

The decision we took in 2003 to focus our energies on influencing policy is beginning to show results. It is surely no coincidence that the public health white paper contained a case study on NMHW lifted verbatim from our submission to the consultation. The policy recommendations on cancer we prepared for NMHW were debated in the House of Commons and led directly to a very successful meeting with the Cancer Tsar, Mike Richards.

We have improved our governance by recruiting new trustees with much-needed skills and expertise — this has led, for example, to better financial scrutiny and strategic planning by the Board — and we avoided what, at one time, looked like a probable serious budget deficit by the end of 2004/5. In fact, we have improved our financial position and are about to implement a new fundraising strategy with the support of a fundraising consultant.

The number of members continues to grow — it now totals about 150, including many PCTs — and our quarterly magazine MHF is delivered to almost 3,000 policymakers and practitioners. The next issue, which will reach you in January, contains health secretary John Reid's first-ever interview on men's health. I think you will be surprised — pleasantly — at some of the things he says.

This was also the year for awards, not least the Plain English award for the Cancer manual and the Society of Authors/Royal Society of Medicine Medical Website of the Year award for In addition, we partnered the Queen's Nursing Institute to launch a new joint award for nurses working in the field of men's health. The winner will be announced next month.

2005 will be another big year for the MHF. We have the national conference on men and weight/obesity and the launch of the Haynes' HGV manual during NMHW in June, as well as a major weight loss project aimed at 100,000 BT staff beginning in September. The results of the chlamydia study will be published in March and launched at a seminar at the King's Fund. We hope, too, to begin work on a project on bowel cancer and to organise, with the Department of Health and Cancer Research UK, a symposium on men and cancer which will identify gaps in knowledge and form the basis of  a new research programme.

As ever, we are undertaking all this — and much more — with still too slender resources. We could not begin to do so without the enthusiasm and commitment of the staff in particular but also everyone else involved in our work. We are well-placed to tackle the many challenges that we still face as a small organisation tackling a major health problem.'

Season's greetings and all the best for 2005 from all at the Forum.

Page created on December 22nd, 2004

Page updated on December 1st, 2009