NEWPORT, R.I. - About a dozen faculty and staff at the U.S. Naval War College (NWC) and a large group at the Naval Health Clinic New England (NHCNE) participated in a worldwide campaign to raise awareness of men’s health issues during the month of November.
Participants were encouraged to grow moustaches for the 30 days of November to draw attention to taboo health topics, such as prostate cancer and other conditions affecting men. At NHCNE, 42 men grew moustaches in support of the cause.
The contingent at NWC has dubbed itself the Collegial Order of Shaveless Lads, a parody of the College of Operational and Strategic Leadership (COSL) where they work.
“Men don’t like to go to the doctor, don’t like to talk about personal things,” said COSL Training Specialist Dave Ainslie.
A key feature of the month-long campaign is the targeting of social stigma attached to men’s health issues. A little-known statistic of prostate cancer is that one in six men will be diagnosed with the ailment, and few men take precautions to catch the cancer early.
Several women are also involved with the effort and most of them have family members affected by men’s health issues. NWC Human Resources Program Assistant Peggy Vickey said her stepfather had prostate cancer, and it would have been avoided if he’d seen a doctor earlier.
NHCNE Public Health Educator April Childs conceded that many men are hesitant to visit a doctor.
“Cancer alone is this big, nasty word, and we’re trying to break that down,” she said.
COSL Computer Operator Justin Kudlacik said NWC’s mission of training future leaders lends a unique aspect in efforts like this.
“When you’re a leader, you take care of your people, and health is an important issue,” Kudlacik said. “That’s the first thing that jumps out to me.”
Posted by Cmdr. Carla McCarthy