Men’s Centers and Men’s Studies

The full interview with USA Today College

By Daphne C. Watkins, PhD  

Q: Do you feel men’s centers are needed in United States colleges?

A: Yes, but I am afraid that only addresses part of the challenge. I think that more programs and centers that support the various identities of our college students in the United States are needed. Though gender-specific centers are a start to this process, we should not always think of our identities as binary (men vs. women) with regard to the types of support that college students need. For instance, instead of the need for a men’s center versus a women’s center, I would like to see college administrators think about what types of programs (e.g., those that support racial/ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, and class needs) will help students work through the challenges that pose as potential barriers to their personal and professional success. There are so many other identities to consider during emerging adulthood that it would behoove college administrators to think about how best to support the multiple factors that help to shape their students. If centers are the result of this thinking, then being clear about the goals of these centers is essential.

Q: Do you feel more men’s studies are needed in the United States?

A: Yes. The women’s movement was (and continues to be) a remarkable and needed contribution to gender studies, overall. However, there is also something to be said about the complexities of men that were left out of some of the early scholarship on women. Therefore, increasing what we know about men — through men’s studies — helps us acquire a deeper understanding about what is happening in the lives of men, women, families, and communities.

Q: Do you feel there needs to be more support for the men’s rights movement on college campuses in the United States?

A: I think, broadly speaking, there needs to be more support for college programs that provide education, support, and resources for students who are unpacking the complexities of their multiple identities — gender included.

Q: What issue do you think is the most troubling for American men on college campuses and why?

A: In my opinion, what is most troubling for American college men are the daily challenges they face as a result of their adherence or non-adherence to masculine gender norms.  For many men, their masculine identities are shaped by their interactions with other men, and society as a whole. Unfortunately, masculinity is often treated as a binary (either you are masculine or you are not) factor by college men. This can lead them to engage in stigmatizing behaviors, as oftentimes there are opposing beliefs within and between male groups and individuals on campus. I think if American men were more aware of the global acceptance of multiple masculinities, their college experiences would be improved.


When Traditional Health Care Isn’t Enough: Re-examining Diabetes Care for African American and Latino Men

By Jaclynn Hawkins, MSW*

Diabetes is among one of the leading causes of death in the United States (Center for Disease Control, 2008).  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008), 7% of the US population lives with diabetes.  Diabetes is found in African American men (8%) and Latino men (7.1%) at higher rates than white men (5.4%).  Diabetes also places men at risk for other health conditions such as kidney failure, obesity, and heart disease. While early access to health care and preventive services can play an important role in preventing and reducing diabetes related complications, poor quality of care and access have been reported for low-income African American and Latino men with diabetes (Correa-de-Araujo, McDermott, & Moy, 2006).  Prior studies suggest that men have different health and health seeking behaviors than women, such as a reluctance to seek medical treatment, which may impact their participation in diabetes treatment and self-management (O’Brien, Hunt & Hart, 2005). Although many studies have examined the effectiveness of interventions in addressing racial and ethnic disparities in diabetes (Mauldon, Melkus, & Cagganello, 2006; Samuel-Hodge, Keyserling, Johnston, Gizlice, & Bandgdiwala, 2009), few address gender disparities.

Culturally appropriate lifestyle programs for African Americans and Latinos can lead to improvements in diabetes control, and self-management. Considering the increasing importance of diabetes treatment programs in effective diabetes self-management and control, it is important to examine whether gender influences diabetes intervention participation and outcomes. Among African Americans, self-care and health care utilization are largely dependent on culture, coping styles, family relationships, spirituality, education levels, socioeconomic status, larger structural or institutional variables (e.g. health care delivery systems and patient-provider relationships) and gender socialization. For Latinos, factors such as acculturation, and language barriers should also be considered. Each of these factors play out differently depending on the environment and racial group. Future studies should tailor interventions by gender and examine their effects in service of decreasing gender disparities and improving diabetes mortality rates among both men and women of color.  Interventions would benefit from explicitly addressing the role of discrimination and racism and cumulative disadvantage based on intersecting social positions (race, class and gender).

*Jaclynn Hawkins, MSW is a Doctoral Student in the Joint Doctoral program in Social Work and Sociology at the University of Michigan


Correa-de-Araujo R., McDermott K., & Moy E. (2006). Gender differences across racial and ethnic groups in the quality of care for diabetes. Womens Health Issues. 16(2), 56-65.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2008). Fact sheet: Number of americans with diabetes continues to increase. Retrieved January, 1, 2011, from

Mauldon, M., Melkus, G. D., & Cagganello, M. (2006). Tornado control: A culturally appropriate diabetes education program for spanish-speaking individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus—evaluation of a pilot project. Diabetes Education, 32(5), 439-760.

O’Brien, R., Hunt, K., & Hart, G. (2005). ‘It’s caveman stuff, but that is to a certain extent how guys still operate’: Men’s accounts of masculinity and help seeking. Social Science & Medicine, 61(3), 503-516.

Samuel-Hodge, C. D., Keyserling, S. P., Johnston, L. F., Gizlice, Z., & Bandgdiwala, S. I. (YEAR). A randomized trial of a church-based diabetes self-management program for african americans with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Education, 35, 439-453.

Williams, D.R. (2003). The health of men: structured inequalities and opportunities. American Journal of Public Health, 98(9 Suppl), S150-7.