The Men’s Health Conference, an annual event that will mark its 10th year when it opens Saturday morning at LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center, seems to be reaching its audience.
For the last couple of years, there’s been a capacity crowd at the free event that offers health screenings and information for men, who too often overlook their own health issues, said Phil Brantley, the 2011 conference chair.
“Every year we identify men with hypertension,” who didn’t know they had it, said Brantley, a senior scientist at the center and the director of its Division of Education.
The health screenings have caught pre-diabetes and diabetes, as well, he said.
Professionals at the conference provide men with community resources for follow-up care, he said.
The health conference is brought to the public by the Louisiana Men’s Health Organization.
The group was founded in 2001 by health professionals, business leaders and community activists from the greater Baton Rouge area “committed to men’s health and well-being,” according to its website, http://www.lamenshealth.org.
The keynote speaker at this year’s event will be Tony Clayton, special prosecutor for the 18th Judicial District Court, who prosecuted Derrick Todd Lee in the Geralyn Barr DeSoto case.
Lee was sentenced to death in 2004 for the murder of one woman, is serving a life sentence for the murder of another woman and is a suspect in the murders of five other women.
Clayton will speak on “Nobody is Bulletproof, So Why Not Protect Yourself?” at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.
The event also offers a slate of speakers covering a variety of health issues of interest to men.
Every year, said Brantley, topics include cardiac health issues and urinary/sexual health issues.
Other topics “seem to vary with what seems to be relevant to the health concerns of men,” he said.
One of the topics this year, colorectal cancer “is deadly and it’s preventable,” Brantley said.
Another will be sleep disorders and their treatment, including that of sleep apnea, which has now been shown to be a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke, he said.
The majority of the men who have attended the conferences in the past — last year, there were some 700 attendees, Brantley said — are in their early to mid-50s.
It’s a crowd that’s interested in improving its health outlook for the future, and Brantley said that maybe the conference will bring a “trickle-down effect” of good health information for younger men in the community, as well.
The conference will open at Pennington, 6400 Perkins Road, at 7 a.m. Saturday for registration, screenings and exhibit viewing.
Breakout sessions will follow the keynote address and will be held from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m..
Conference goers will be able to choose from a number of available sessions. The sessions and their presenters include:
• “Hypertension Management,” Dr. Paul Garrett.
• “Erectile Dysfunction: Causes and Treatment,” Dr. Charles Bridges.
• “Colorectal Cancer — the Facts,” Dr. Louis Barfield.
• “Pain and Prescription Abuse,” Dr. Michael Burdine.
• “Eating Out/Healthy Options,” Catherine Champagne, Ph.D.
• “Sleep Disorders — Not a Myth,” Dr. Richard Kearley.
Employees with Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center will provide screenings for glucose, blood pressure, stroke assessment and body fat.
Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center employees will provide screenings or take-home screening kits for skin cancer and prostate and colorectal cancer.
Southeastern Cardiovascular Consultants and Baton Rouge Cardiology staffers will also provide screenings for total blood cholesterol and blood glucose.
A lunch will also be available for conference goers and the day will wrap up around 1 p.m.