Physician Seeing More Male Patients As Conway Group Raises Funds For Men’s Health
Thad Hardin, MD, a family medicine physician and men’s health advocate in Conway, is seeing less reluctance among his male patients to schedule wellness exams. However, the battle has just begun.
Hardin points to National Institute of Health findings that the mortality rate for men is twice as high as that of women. Women tend to live longer and are more apt to see a physician. Early visits and diagnoses can increase the survival rate for many of the diseases that Hardin finds in his patients at Banister-Lieblong Clinic in Conway, where he has practiced for more than 10 years.
Hardin and a committee of other physicians and community leaders are actively taking on the challenge of improving the health of men by encouraging wellness visits that detect preventable diseases early.
“More than half of diseases in men are preventable by quitting smoking, exercising, or controlling your blood pressure,” Hardin says. “A lot of instances of diabetes, heart attacks, are brought about because, ‘I smoke, I don’t exercise, my blood pressure is high, or I don’t take my cholesterol pill.’”
With these facts in mind, Hardin and other wellness-minded leaders in Conway teamed with the Conway Regional Health Foundation to establish the Arkansas Duck Derby four years ago. After a one-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Duck Derby is set to return with a banquet and a duck hunt on Jan. 7. Individuals and corporate sponsors purchased all the current team spots for the duck hunt portion of the event in two hours. Tickets to the banquet which includes live and silent auctions and raffles for hunting equipment were still available at this publication’s deadline. Readers can learn more by visiting ArkansasDuckDerby.com.
The group has raised almost half a million dollars to support men’s health initiatives at Conway Regional Health System, including a mobile health unit that will bring health care providers to private and public events to provide health care diagnostic services. Potential health care services include on-site prostate screenings, mammograms, and laboratory testing.
Early detection and prevention are the goals behind Hardin’s efforts to take healthcare outside the normal clinic and hospital setting. “Catching one prostate cancer, a case of diabetes, one super high cholesterol level, or one potential heart attack creates huge downstream implications,” Hardin adds.
He notes that Duck Derby funds are also supporting Conway Regional’s fundraising efforts to enhance clinical laboratory services as well as Adult Psychiatric Services, two initiatives that support overall wellness in the Conway area.
As wellness efforts become more successful in detecting disease, Hardin hopes to see fewer patients in the clinic. In many instances, heart disease, stroke and diabetes are driven by lifestyle decisions.
A positive factor for Hardin is that many insurance plans are helping his patients avoid high deductibles by paying for initial wellness visits. Some employers are also able to offer additional incentives for wellness activities such as reduced premiums and discounts. “I’ve seen more men in clinic because of the incentivizing of wellness visits,” Hardin says.
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