ABN Member Spotlight: Mike Leventhal, Executive Director of Tennessee Men’s Health Network

For 14 years, Mike Leventhal has been working to bring about change in men’s health as the executive director of Tennessee Men’s Health Network (MHN).

Mike handles MHN operations in Tennessee and works with staff members and volunteers to coordinate programs in the Southeast. With outreach to policy makers, media, and private and public foundations, Mike represents MHN throughout the region.

“Our ultimate goal is to get guys to go to the doctor at least once a year,” he says. “It’s our mission to make sure they are provided with the information they need to be informed when they do go to the doctor.”

While Men’s Health Network operates nationwide, Mike says it is especially important here in Tennessee. “Men here live shorter, less healthy lives than the rest of the nation, if not the world. We want to reduce the gender mortality gap and make sure that men are staying healthy.”

With programs aimed at encouraging boys to live healthy, balanced lives, campaigns on college campuses to increase awareness about testicular cancer, and the “Men at Work” program that brings the doctor’s office to the workplace, MHN operates as the only resource center for men’s health in the state and the nation.

“We are trying to bring about a cultural change in men’s health. You don’t have to ‘man up’ or ‘power through it,’ because that isn’t working. We want men to focus on making their physical and mental health a priority,” says Mike.

With June being Men’s Health Awareness Month, Tennessee Men’s Health Network is encouraging men to visit their doctor. “Physicals for high school sports are usually the last time a man gets a physical before he turns 40,” says Mike.

While MHN focuses mostly on advocacy, Mike says his proudest achievement to date is passing the 2007 Non-Smoker Protection Act. Men’s Health Network and the American Lung Association, American Cancer Association, and others worked to pass the law that bans smoking in public spaces.

To learn more about Men’s Health Network and its online resource center, visit their website at www.menshealthnetwork.org.

Mike is also the chair of the Alliance for Young Nonprofit Professionals, an affinity group of the Alliance for Better Nonprofits that provides networking, professional development, and resources for young nonprofit professionals in East Tennessee. To learn more about ABN Affinity Groups, visit www.betternonprofits.org/services/networking.