Male Involvement Project
Bureau of Maternal and Infant Health
Division of Community Health & Prevention
Illinois Department of Human Services
The Male Projects target African-American males living in the community areas of South Shore, Woodlawn, and Englewood on the south side of Chicago. The initiative is implemented through two local community-based projects, Peer Advocates for Health targeting a younger population, ages 14 through 18, and Project Brotherhood focusing on older males, ages 14 through 45.
The Male Project is intended to integrate family planning services and education into programs where young males are already receiving other health, education and social services. The project engages young men in reproductive health care. The initiative is designed to involve community-based organizations in developing, implementing and testing approaches for delivery of family planning/reproductive health education and services to men.
Services include: reproductive health and family planning education; direct access to health services meeting the needs of adolescent males; mentor/role models; weekly clinic sessions at an urban health center that welcomes young black men with or without appointments for health care; discussion groups which promote health awareness; and education on healthy living, anger management/conflict resolution and parenting skills.
Project Brotherhood provides medical and social support services to sexually active men 18 to 45 years old who are determined to be socially and/or medically at risk by the medical providers at the Woodland Health Center. The Project includes a social support group that meets each week during the clinic session in a drop-in center setting, outreach and education through five community barbershops and educational outreach to male detainees as they are released from the Cook County correctional system. Project Brotherhood partnerships with the Washington Park Softball League, Komed Health Center, Provident Hospital and the Chicago Department of Public Health HIV/STI prevention outreach and activities have improved education, follow-up and extension of services to 14 to 18 year old males. Peer Advocates for Health provides reproductive health information to young men 14 to 18 years old. Trained Peer Advocates, from ten different high schools, talk one-on-one with their peers and provide information through group presentations, workshops, health fairs, "Let's Talk About It" sessions for middle school students, a Drop-In Center for male students located in gang neutral territory, basketball breakout sessions and boxing practice at local Park District Field Houses.
- Peer Advocates for Health has increased reproductive health knowledge, improved lifestyle choices and increased participants' utilization of clinic services.
- Since 2000, over 180 young African American males have been trained as Peer Advocates.
- Peer Advocates have provided information to and served as role models for 9,500 young men and women and distributed 45,000 condoms in their own communities.
- Project Brotherhood has provided medical and social services on site at weekly health clinics; including physical exams, general health care and illness management, health counseling; HIV counseling and testing, educational sessions on STD/HIV prevention, family planning services for fathers and other health seminars to approximately 21,000 clients.