Otterbein Nursing Chair Recognizes Men’s Health Awareness as Crucial

Posted Nov 22, 2021

November is Men’s Health Awareness Month. Most people know the occasion due to the annual Movember and No-Shave November fundraisers.  

John chovan
John Chovan

“Campaigns such as these serve as a reminder to men, and those who care about them, that their health is important,” said Professor John Chovan. “They can increase screenings and early identification, leading to interventions to prevent health conditions from worsening. The bottom line: fundraising campaigns can improve men’s quality of life.” 

Chovan is the chair for the Department of Nursing and chief nursing administrator. In all 43 of Ohio’s accredited nursing programs, only four, including Otterbein, are led by men. 

Chovan is a nurse practitioner, nationally board certified at the advanced level in psychiatric and mental health. His research involves quality of life for persons living with severe and persistent mental illness. His academic and professional career gives him a unique perspective. 

“As the first male chair of the Department of Nursing at Otterbein, I feel a duty to promote health and wellness in general, but particularly to folks who might need additional help accessing health services,” Chovan said. “Only about 10% of the nursing workforce are men. I feel compelled to make a difference in those whose lives I touch as a nurse, as an academic chair, and as a man.” 

Movember remains one of the highest visibility campaigns occurring annually each November. Men are encouraged to grow mustaches and beards in efforts to raise money for men’s mental health, suicide prevention, and prostate and testicular cancer charitable and research organizations. According to Movember.com, more than 6 million people have participated in the fundraiser, funding 1,250 men’s health projects since its inception in 2003. 

No-Shave November is a month-long journey during which participants forgo shaving in order to evoke conversation and raise cancer awareness. Participants are asked to embrace their hair, which many cancer patients lose, and let it grow. Money the participants save on grooming and shaving supplies are then donated cancer awareness and education groups. 

“Awareness of physical health cannot exist without the awareness of mental health. Men’s health awareness is particularly important in both domains because we know that men in general are less likely to seek assistance with symptoms of mental illnesses, like depression and anxiety. Preventing and minimizing the impact of illness in both domains is of paramount importance,” Chovan said.