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2010 Tennessee Men's Health Report Card

Findings of the 2010 Tennessee Men's Health Report Card

The first Tennessee Men's Health Report Card was released in September 27th, 2010 at a launch event in the Old Supreme Court Chambers in the Tennessee State Capitol.   Speakers at the event, which was introduced by Robert Dittus, MD, MPH, Director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Medicine and Public Health,  included Advisory Panel Co-Chairs David Penson, MD, MPH, Professor of Urologic Surger and Gordon Bernard, MD, Director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research;  Susan Cooper, RN, MSN, State Health Commissioner; Jeff Balser MD, PhD, Vice-Chancellor for Health Affairs and Dean of VUMC School of Medicine; and

Launch of 2010 Report Card

Wayne J Riley, MD, MBA, MPH, President and CEO of Meharry Medical College.  Mr. Robbie Caldwell, Coach of the 2010 VU football team, provided a personal account of the need for men to take more active care of their health, if not for themselves, then for their families.  Members of the Report Card's statewide Advisory Panel, representatives of our generous sponsoring agencies (see side bar to right) and staff of stakeholder organizations which contributed to the interpretation of the Report's findings and dissemination of the Report throughout the state, also crowded into the Chamber to show support for this unique effort to look more closely at statewide trends in men's health outcomes and health behaviors.

Below is the official press release from that event:

State of Men’s Health Gets Failing Grade by 2010 Tennessee Men’s Health Report Card

(Nashville, Tenn.) This morning, representatives from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Meharry Medical College and the Tennessee Department of Health unveiled results of the Tennessee Men’s Health Report Card, the most recent study of the overall state of men’s health in Tennessee. For the most part, the report’s findings offer a sobering reminder that Tennessee’s men should take a more active role to improve their own health.

Tennessee men received poor or failing grades in nine of 14 categories including: heart disease, overall cancer deaths, lung cancer, head and neck cancer, chronic liver disease, AIDS, motor vehicle deaths, suicide and homicide.

However, there is positive news to report in the categories of diabetes, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, and chronic lower respiratory disease, with Tennessee’s men receiving passing grades in these categories. For deaths associated with diabetes and prostate cancer Tennessee men receive the Grade of A in these categories.

The Report Card provides data on the health status of more than 3 million adult men, comparing Tennessee to national benchmarks for health improvement established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The report offers the opportunity to prospectively focus on improving health and health care in specific areas.

“While there are positive findings in the 2010 Men’s Health Report Card, it should be of great concern to all Tennesseans that obesity and lack of physical activity are epidemic among men in our state,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. “With one-third of the state’s men reporting they are obese, we need to continue to refine our role in primary prevention to support and motivate citizens. There is great opportunity to improve the lives of Tennesseans.”      

Using comparative data from 2008, the most recent year with a complete data-set available, the 2010 Report Card is a compilation of data from sources such as birth and death certificates, the statewide hospital discharge data reporting system, infectious diseases data reported to the State Department of Health, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, and the U.S. Census Current Population Survey for Tennessee.

“Poor dietary choices and physical inactivity, along with risky behavior like tobacco use and alcohol abuse, contribute greatly to these health outcomes,” said State Health Commissioner, Susan R. Cooper, M.S.N., R.N. “Our fathers, husbands, brothers and sons are integral to our communities, and this report rings the alarm for us all to get on board to address the health issues that are shortening the life span of men in Tennessee.”

An age-specific examination of causes of death reveals that Tennessee’s men ages 18-39 die most frequently from motor vehicle accidents; for men ages 40-64, cancer is the most common cause of death; while men ages 65 and older most frequently die of heart disease.

And while leading causes of death change with age, they are, for the most part preventable by lifestyle changes such as wearing seatbelts, dietary changes and increased physical activity. In younger men, decreased alcohol and drug use could reduce motor vehicle accidents and also influence death rates from suicide, homicide and forms of unintentional injury.    

"This report dramatically highlights that we men of Tennessee have much room for improvement when it comes to our health. It clearly can be likened to a proverbial 'shot across the bow' which calls us to focus initially on a few simple things like fastening our seat belts, participating in early screenings for cancer, and watching what we eat," said Wayne J. Riley, M.D., MBA, MPH, MACP, President and CEO, Meharry Medical College. "More importantly, improving our men's health, even modestly, is indeed achievable and will help to free our wives, families and our significant others from the burdens of our relatively poor health status and enhance the economic and social development of our state." 

Heart disease is a major cause of death for men of all ages in Tennessee. While deaths associated with heart disease have declined during the past five years, the number of deaths is still nearly twice as high as benchmark results in the CDC’s Healthy People 2010 Report.

During 2008, 59 percent of all motor vehicle accidents in Tennessee involved failure to use proper restraints. Of those fatalities tested, 42 percent had blood alcohol levels above the legal limit. Comparatively, nationwide in 2008, only 31 percent of men killed in motor vehicle accidents had blood alcohol levels twice the legal limit.

 “The report card shows that we are making progress in improving men’s health in Tennessee, but there is still a lot of room for improvement.  There are lots of little things that we can do ourselves every day that will help.  For example, if every man in Tennessee would remember to wear his seatbelt when he’s in the car and to take a brisk walk for 15-20 minutes every day, it could make a big difference. The report card helps us to recognize these small changes we can each make that could make a big difference to our health,” said David Penson, M.D., M.P.H., Professor of Urologic Surgery with Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Co-Chairman of the Report Card’s advisory panel.


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Cover of 2010 Tennessee Men's Health Report Card 

To download PDF please click on PDF icon next to heading to left.

Thank you to our Sponsors, and to the Advisory Panelists who contributed their time and expertise to the design and content of the first Tennessee Men's Health Report Card:



Baptist Healing Trust

Meharry Medical College

Meharry-Vanderbilt Community Engaged Research Core

Tennessee Academy of Family Physicians

Tennessee Academy of Physician Assistants

Tennessee Department of Public Health

University of Tennessee Medical Center Cancer Institute at Knoxville

Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research

Vanderbilt Institute for Medicine and Public Health

Vanderbilt University School of Nursing

Veterans Affairs Tennessee Valley Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC)




Gordon R. Bernard, M.D., Assistant Vice-Chancellor for Research Assistant Vice-Chancellor for Research, Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC)

David F. Penson, M.D., MPH, Director, Center for Surgical Quality and Health Outcomes, VUMC

Advisory Panel:

Rich Cassidy, M.D., Vice-President and Chief Medical Officer, BCBST

Andre Churchwell, M.D., Associate Professor Medicine (Cardiology) & Associate Dean for Diversity in Graduate Medicine and Faculty Affairs, VUMC

John Cummings, M.D, Representative, Tennessee Department of Health West Region

Mark Dalle-Ave, M.D., Director, Rural Health Services Consortium

Rodney Davis, M.D. Professor of Urologic Oncology,

Jay Fowke, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, VIMPH

  Salvatore Giorgianni, D Pharm., Belmont University School of Pharmacy; Chair, APHA Men’s Health Caucus

Ingrid Hall, PhD, Health Services Research Team, Centers for Disease Control

  Katherine Hartmann, M.D., PhD, Deputy Director, VIMPH

James Hildreth, MD., Director Center for AIDS Health Disparities, Meharry Medical College

Darlene Jenkins, D.P.H, Director for Research, National Health Care for the Homeless Council

  Robert Klesges, PhD, Professor Cancer Prevention and Control, UT-Memphis Health Sciences Center

  Mike Leventhal, Director, Tennessee Men’s Health Network

Harvey Murff, M.D., MPH, Assistant Professor of Medicine, VIMPH

  Ellen Omohundro, PhD, Office of Policy, Planning and Assessment, Tennessee Department of Health

Jonathan Perlin, M.D., PhD Chief Medical Officer and President Clinical Services, HCA

Randolph Rasch, PhD, RN, FNP, Director, Family Nurse Practitioner Program, VU School of Nursing

  Reverend Kenneth Robinson, M.D., St. Andrew’s AME Church, Memphis

Christianne Roumie, M.D., MPH, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics, VIMPH and Veterans Affairs’ Tennessee Valley Healthcare System

W. Bedford Waters, M.D., Professor of Urology, UT-Knoxville Medical Center

  Roger Zoorob, MD, MPH, Chair, Department of Family Medicine, Meharry Medical College