Healthy Living in the North

Our Mr. Movember winner

Mr. Movember

Azreer Gill came in first place with the most votes in November’s Mr. Movember contest!

During the month of November, people all over the world promoted men’s health and prostate cancer by growing a Mo to help raise money to support prostate cancer research. The Northern Health Men’s Health program helped raise awareness by holding its first ever Mr. Movember contest to see who could grow the best Mo.

There were 11 very brave participants from across the Northern Health region.  Their pictures were posted on the men’s health website for all to see and the public voted on who had the best Mo. Each week, a new photo of each participants was put on the website to show their growing progress.

With over 4,000 votes from people picking their favourite Mo, we are pleased to announce that Azreer Gill, an NH environmental health officer from Terrace, is the winner of the first annual Mr. Movember contest.  Secondplace went to Shane Wadden, another environmental health officer from Terrace, and third went to Andrew Aucoin, Manager, Housekeeping and Laundry, from Prince George.

Thank you to everyone who voted and to all the participants! We look forward to next year.

Brandon Grant

About Brandon Grant

As the NH men’s health coordinator, Brandon Grant travels across the Northern Health region speaking with community members about the health issues men face and what we can do to improve men’s health. He has worked with a variety of community-based organizations, including the Nawican Friendship Centre and the Northern Family Health Society, and holds two master’s degrees, one in social work and one in public administration. To stay active, Brandon enjoys playing golf and tennis, and whenever possible, visits tropical destinations to go snorkeling. (Brandon no longer works with Northern Health, we wish him all the best.)

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MAN Profile: The Big Blue Ball

Big Blue Ball

A full room at the Big Blue Ball.

In the time that I’ve been with Northern Health’s men’s health program, doing community consultations and talking to men across the region, I’ve seen that men face unique challenges when it comes to their health. One of my biggest goals as NH men’s health coordinator is finding ways that we can make health more accessible to men. We’ve heard from men everywhere that they’re more likely to be responsive to a direct approach where they’re involved in the conversation, and this is why I’m thrilled about the success of The Big Blue Ball.

The Big Blue Ball was a fundraising event in Prince George that took place November 10, with the aim of raising awareness and money for men’s health, prostate cancer programs and Rotary Club community programs. About $46,000 was raised at the event!

Fake mustache

The event was a hit, complete with fake mustaches!

I talked to John Kason, one of the event’s key organizers, and he explained the rationale for organizing the event: “We wanted to create a type of event that can be replicated across the region. We know there was a need in the community, because often men don’t talk about their health until it might be too late.”

The Big Blue Ball is an example of community partners coming together from across Prince George to raise awareness about men’s health. The night featured great entertainment by Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne and a keynote address by Dr. Art Hister.

“Health care is something that affects everyone,” John noted, and thanks to the effort of this great event’s organizers, men’s health awareness continues to grow in our region.

Please visit men.northernhealth.ca for more information on Men’s Health, and to participate in the Month of Man activities we have going on for the month of November!

Brandon Grant

About Brandon Grant

As the NH men’s health coordinator, Brandon Grant travels across the Northern Health region speaking with community members about the health issues men face and what we can do to improve men’s health. He has worked with a variety of community-based organizations, including the Nawican Friendship Centre and the Northern Family Health Society, and holds two master’s degrees, one in social work and one in public administration. To stay active, Brandon enjoys playing golf and tennis, and whenever possible, visits tropical destinations to go snorkeling. (Brandon no longer works with Northern Health, we wish him all the best.)

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Month of Man: Celebrating the men in your life

Brandon's Mo

Brandon shows off his own Mo and the Movember decorations he added to a colleague’s door.

Happy Mo Growin’ to everyone! I hope your Mo’s are coming along nicely now that we’re in the middle of Movember.

Some of our Northern Health men (and even women – see photo below!) have been showing off their Mo’s in order to help raise awareness of prostate cancer research and men’s health. We’ve gathered photos of these Mo Bros, posted them on our men’s health site and now we need your help! Who do you think is growing the best Mo?

We’ll be updating their photos with their progress on Friday, so be sure to check back and vote again – you can even vote every day if you want to. Then on December 7, we’ll crown the best Mo’Grower as the 2012 Mr. Movember.

Cookie Mo's

Kathleen, a public health nurse from Dawson Creek, brought in a batch of gingerbread mustache cookies to celebrate Movember!

Have you seen the new MANual yet? It’s our gift to you: a men’s health survival guide. Men’s health matters, so this booklet gives you health information for men of all ages about nutrition, active living and health screenings men need at various stages of life. Check it out and be sure to share it with other men in your life!

You can even win your own print copy of the MANual. Test your knowledge in our interactive men’s health quiz and you could win a MANual and an assortment of other men’s health goodies!

Don’t miss out! Visit the men’s health site today!

Brandon Grant

About Brandon Grant

As the NH men’s health coordinator, Brandon Grant travels across the Northern Health region speaking with community members about the health issues men face and what we can do to improve men’s health. He has worked with a variety of community-based organizations, including the Nawican Friendship Centre and the Northern Family Health Society, and holds two master’s degrees, one in social work and one in public administration. To stay active, Brandon enjoys playing golf and tennis, and whenever possible, visits tropical destinations to go snorkeling. (Brandon no longer works with Northern Health, we wish him all the best.)

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Happy MOvember from Dr. Bowering

MANual

Check out our new MANual – a men’s health survival guide!! Visit men.northernhealth.ca to see it today!

It’s that time of year again, when men grow the Mo to support awareness of men’s health and to help raise money for prostate cancer research. What started out as a grassroots movement has now become one of the most iconic health promotion campaigns in the world. Raising awareness about prostate cancer and engaging men in their own health is incredibly important – and Northern Health is playing its part. Northern Health’s men’s health program has been working with our community partners over the last 16 months to raise awareness about all men’s health issues by:

  • Presenting to over 70 community groups on men’s health across the region.
  • Providing health screenings to over 800 northerners across our region for blood pressure, sugars, and cholesterol.
  • Developing promotional materials to reach men, including our men’s health website, radio and social media campaigns.

And most recently, we have developed a men’s health MANual, which provides health information for men of all ages about nutrition, active living, and health screenings at the various life stages. It’s a man maintenance guide for health – take a look and share it with the men in your family today!

Men in northern B.C. aren’t living as long as men in other parts of the province. MOvember reminds us that we need to work as a region-wide community to get men to live the best quality of life they can for themselves and their family. I want to invite all of you to check out the MANual and let us know what you think. ALso, stay tuned over the next couple days when we’ll be starting our Month of MAN promotion campaign at men.northernhealth.ca – we’ll have weekly contests and quizzes over the next month and you could win some great prizes!

Happy Mo growin’! Share your story with us! Are you growing a Mo?

Dr. David Bowering

About Dr. David Bowering

Dr. David Bowering is Northern Health’s Chief Medical Officer. In November 2010, he released the report “Where are the Men? Chief Medical Health Officer’s report on the Wellbeing of Men and Boys in Northern BC” and has been heavily involved with the men’s health program since then. To stay active, Dr. Bowering walks or bikes to work, walks his dog daily, boycotts elevators, hikes or cross-country skis most weekends and plays with his grandchildren.

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Man up: Learning to take our own advice

Steve and his family

Steve, pictured here with his wife Shelley and children Michael and Alyson, was a torch bearer for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Given my recent entry into my forties, I like to think that 42 is the new 22. Well when 22 meets 42 on the soccer field, I’m not so sure. While I won’t go into the details of the clearly savage slide tackle targeted at me (in my opinion, anyway), I can tell you about what happened after. I remember people around me asking, “Are you hurt or are you injured?” – meaning if I merely “hurt,” then man up and get back out there. I didn’t go back in the game, but I did take two aspirin and head home, and not straight to the emergency room (which I know now was the wrong choice). But I mean, it was just a sprain, right?

So off to work on Monday. Much to my surprise, the interesting two-step stride I took down the hall to my office was not met with weekend warrior adulation, but rather with raised eyebrows and the repeated question of “why haven’t you gotten it checked out yet?”  So realizing the audience here was not my team, off I went, 24 hours later, to get the ankle checked.

Through our Northern Health men’s health consultations last fall, we learned that men in the north are raised in a culture where “living hard” is normalized from an early age. It’s ingrained in us to be tough and macho, and unfortunately this is leading to unnecessary illness, disease and early deaths in northern men. So yes, I should know better to take care of my body and my health.

But of course my self-diagnosis was just a sprain, and I figured I’d be back on my feet in no time. Well the doc entered the room, post X-ray, with a grin, and said, “You’ve done this before haven’t you?” I smiled a bit, telling him, “Yeah, both ankles, many times. Lots of sprains over the years, nothing ice and heat can’t take care of.” He nodded and told me that’s what he thought because it’s not a normal ankle anymore. Please note the smile disappeared from my face at this point.

He continued to tell me that there is evidence of two past fractures, numerous bone chips and lots of previous ligament and tendon damage in my ankle. In fact, the x-ray was hard to read because of all the junk floating around in there. He did agree with me though – it was a definite sprain this time!

Perhaps I should have taken the advice of the very organization I work for. I should’ve manned up and had some of those past ‘sprains’ checked out. Apparently I wasn’t merely hurt but I was truly injured….oops.

Have you ever had a moment of clarity when you realized you should “man up?”

 

Steve Raper

About Steve Raper

Steve is the Chief of External Relations and Communications for Northern Health, where he leads marketing, communications, web and media relations activities. He has a business diploma from the College of New Caledonia, a BA from the University of Northern BC and a master’s degree in business administration from Royal Roads University. In his spare time, Steve volunteers on a number of boards, including Canadian Blood Services, Pacific Sport Northern BC and the Prince George Youth Soccer Association. To stay active, he enjoys camping, and playing soccer and hockey.

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Recovering from an injury? Slow and steady wins this race

Jonathon with Jay Feaster

Jonathon, with his crutches, posing with Jay Feaster, Calgary Flames general manager.

Ever had an injury that prevented you from participating in the activities you love? I’ve always loved to play team sports such as soccer, hockey, ultimate Frisbee, curling, and other activities including hiking, kayaking, and golf. Unfortunately, four years ago I hurt my knee playing soccer and the idea that I wouldn’t be able to do any of those while I recovered was more painful than the injury itself.

In December 2010 and July 2011 I went in for surgeries to repair my knee. The first surgery was to repair the meniscus, and the second was to repair my Anterior Crucial Ligament (ACL). From the time that I hurt my knee, to the clearance from the doctor that my knee was good for most activities again earlier this month, it was very hard for me to not be very active.

With any type of injury, it is critical to take care of yourself and ensure you get the proper treatment you need to heal. This is a lesson I learned the hard way. Immediately after my injury I went into the doctor, but being young and impatient, I made the impulse decision to play ball hockey anyway. Of course, this further damaged my knee and left me in a great deal of pain. After awhile, I finally realized I needed to take care of myself and I went back to the doctor to start on the path to recovery.

Prior to the injury I didn’t enjoy spending time at the gym, electing to get my physical exercise in other ways. But once I started going to the gym to do strengthening exercises for my knee, I found that being in a controlled environment like that helped me to ensure I wasn’t overworking my knee and potentially re-injuring it. Over time I have found activities at the gym that I enjoy and will continue to do even though I can now return to things like golf and hockey.

All in all, making sure to take care of myself after the surgeries meant being able to eventually return to the things I love. I learned that there’s no point in trying to be manly and walk off injuries.

My advice to anyone who has hurt themselves, especially men playing sports, is to man up and make sure to take care of your injury. For more information on men’s health, preventing and recovering from injuries, visit men.northernhealth.ca.

Jonathon Dyck

About Jonathon Dyck

Jonathon is a communications officer at Northern Health. Originally from Airdrie, Alberta, Jonathon has a broadcasting diploma from Mount Royal College in Calgary, Alberta, and a BA with a major in communications from Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C. Jonathon enjoys golf, hockey, curling, hiking, biking, and canoeing. He is also an avid sports fan and attends as many sporting events as humanly possible, including hockey, soccer, baseball, football, rugby, basketball, and lacrosse. (Jonathon no longer works with Northern Health, we wish him all the best.)

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Aboriginal Day in Terrace: Fun for all ages

Brandon and Agnes at the Aboriginal Day celebrations in Terrace

Brandon Grant, NH Men’s Health Coordinator, stands with two gentlemen who stopped by and received Northern BC Man Challenge t-shirts, and Agnes Snow, Regional Director of Aboriginal Health, at the Aboriginal Day celebrations in Terrace, BC.

On June 23, I had the opportunity to participate in the National Aboriginal Day celebrations in Terrace, along with Agnes Snow, Regional Director of Aboriginal Health. The event was in the downtown park in Terrace, where people were able to purchase food, jewelry, and art at display booths surrounding the grass and a stage featuring live entertainment from local dancers and singers happened all day.

I was manning an informational booth for the NH men’s health program, where we handed out men’s health reports and our other promotional materials, such as our Northern BC Man Challenge t-shirt and golf balls. We had a lot of folks drop by our booth to check out our materials but also to talk about their stories, and what good health meant to them. One gentleman who was visiting from an outside community stopped by and chatted about how hard it was to talk to men about their health and the small things we can all do to improve our health outcomes. This has been a common theme throughout the past year of the program – what can we do to reach men who traditionally have a hard time speaking about their health challenges? We’re hoping that as we engage with more folks like this, we will create a momentum that will make men’s health part of a broader agenda for healthier communities.

It was great to be a part of an event where people of all ages came out to enjoy the beautiful weather, food, activities, and entertainment. I’m hoping to travel to more communities soon, especially the ones where folks who stopped by our booth and requested men’s health presentations came from. And hopefully I will be back to the Aboriginal Day celebrations in Terrace again next year!

Do you have men’s health story? Please share it with us!

Brandon Grant

About Brandon Grant

As the NH men’s health coordinator, Brandon Grant travels across the Northern Health region speaking with community members about the health issues men face and what we can do to improve men’s health. He has worked with a variety of community-based organizations, including the Nawican Friendship Centre and the Northern Family Health Society, and holds two master’s degrees, one in social work and one in public administration. To stay active, Brandon enjoys playing golf and tennis, and whenever possible, visits tropical destinations to go snorkeling. (Brandon no longer works with Northern Health, we wish him all the best.)

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Men’s health event and screening in McBride was a huge success!

McBride Pioneer Days

The NH team promoting men’s health. L-R: Brandon Grant, Mike Benusic, Sheila Anderson, Roxanne Coates and Susanna Gasser.

On June 17th, I was able to participate in a great event held during the McBride Pioneer Days Pancake Breakfast at the Elk’s Hall. I was there to promote men’s health, along with other Northern Health staff who conducted blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol checks for men who came in for breakfast. We also had an information booth with a variety of health resources for residents.

As with most of our events across the region, the men we saw really stepped up and took on the challenge to learn more about their health, with over 30 participants lining up to get checked. As I spoke with some of the folks at the Elk’s Hall, it reminded me of the importance of the work we are doing to raise the spotlight on men’s health. The men and women who came by shared stories about their own health issues and real-life examples that have showed them how important it is to reach men at all stages of life, but especially when they’re young.

The best part about my job is visiting all the communities in our vast region, speaking with people about what good health means to them, and what we can do as a community and health authority to raise awareness about health issues of men living in the north. The work continues, but with the help of our committed Northern Health staff and our community partners, we can make men’s health better for all that call the north home. Thanks to the great folks that helped make this event possible!

Brandon Grant

About Brandon Grant

As the NH men’s health coordinator, Brandon Grant travels across the Northern Health region speaking with community members about the health issues men face and what we can do to improve men’s health. He has worked with a variety of community-based organizations, including the Nawican Friendship Centre and the Northern Family Health Society, and holds two master’s degrees, one in social work and one in public administration. To stay active, Brandon enjoys playing golf and tennis, and whenever possible, visits tropical destinations to go snorkeling. (Brandon no longer works with Northern Health, we wish him all the best.)

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