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Males may experience several barriers to seeking health care, including unfamiliarity with procedures (e.g. colonoscopy), stigma and fear of a given health issue, perceived breach of masculinity (machismo), and fear of feeling vulnerable. Evidence suggests church-based interventions are an effective way to strengthen the connection between promotional message content and participant conceptualization of the risks and benefits of health screenings. However, there is a lack of evidence demonstrating such effectiveness in men’s health, and there is even more of a dearth of research focusing on Latinos. This discussion presents trends from a series of 4 community-based seminars during the 2010-2011 academic year conducted with Latino faith-based groups on men’s health issues. Approximately 70 Latino men attended a series of seminars on health and wellness as it pertains to cancer screening procedures offered after church services. A particular emphasis was placed on perceived masculinity (machismo) and gender roles within the social environment, and how they influence health screenings among men, particularly for colorectal, prostate, and testicular cancer. The seminar series were a first step in laying the foundations for future formal effectiveness testing of faith-based facilities serving as a conduit for health promotion efforts among Latinos. This paper presents lessons learned from this new approach in community health outreach efforts. We advocate that faith-based groups can be an efficient and effective way to raise awareness and promote wellness among Latino men.

Original Citation

Rovito, M. J., & Leone, J. E. (2012). Faith and Masculinity: A Discussion on Raising Awareness and Promoting Cancer Screening Among Latino Men. Californian Journal of Health Promotion, 10 (Special Issue II), 70-77.