Grandfathers

A grandfather blowing bubbles while his smiling grandson watchesMen’s Health Month and Father’s Day were officially celebrated in June, but as wives, daughters, and partners, every day we recognize the unique social, cultural, and economic challenges affecting men’s health and particularly men of color.

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I’m excited about the growing attention to men’s health as evidenced by the number of scientific journals devoted to men’s health, as well as new investments in research involving men of color. For example, our sister agency, the National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health recently awarded a grant to Hampton University – in partnership with five other historically black colleges and universities, to conduct “innovative trans-disciplinary research to effectively reduce health disparities in minority men.”1 Once understudied, there is more research emerging in the literature to inform public health practice intending to improve health outcomes among men of color. The July 2013 special issue of the American Journal of Men’s Health, for example, focuses on theoretical frameworks, interventions, and qualitative and quantitative analyses needed to better explain and address preventable health disparities among African American men.

While grandparents who serve as primary caregivers for their grandchildren are disproportionately black and Hispanic, the increase in grandparent primary caregiving across the decade has been much more pronounced among whites.