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Last week a representative from Pennsylvania (Tim Murphy, in case you're dying to know) introduced a bill that would create an Office of Men's Health within the department of Health and Human Services. Murphy feels that ?the Office of Men?s Health will bring this issue to the federal stage and result in more men getting the treatment they need, which will save lives,? said Murphy in a press release. ?For too long the health needs of men have gone unaddressed. This bill will help men?s health take its rightful place in our federal government?s health care priorities.?First, let me say that it is absolutely true that in general men underutilize health care - especially young adult men who drop out of the system after their last required shot from their pediatrician and often don't come back in until their first prostate screening. There are huge opportunities for education and prevention around hypertension, sports fitness, sexual health and many other topics that men are losing out on. Men don't go to the doctor for many reasons; they may feel that real men don't need to get checked all of the time or they may not want bad news. Or, they simply might not know where to get good male-friendly care. Some of these are great examples of the ways in which our society's ideas about masculinity can be very harmful to men (check out The Onion's great recent examples of this).All of this aside, I would also like us to keep in mind that the Office of Women's Health was created in 1991 for a reason. At that time (and still today), clinical research on new treatments and medications used men. For most of medicine's history, it has focused on how to treat men, neglecting women's health care and physiology needs.I'm happy that some of the unmet health care needs of men might get met by this legislation. What I don't want to see, however, is more research that excludes women or research that can only happen if women get left out. The best thing we can use this office for is to help the health care system improve its interactions with men and help men to take an equal role in their partner's health care. The title of the legislation ("Men and Families Health Care Act") would seem to be going in that direction, however it was sponsored by a Republican so I have to admit, I'm doubtful. Does "men and families" come from a right-wing focus on men as heads of households and wives as support services? I guess we'll have to see.