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Moving from Awareness to Impact in Medical Research: Q&A with Adam Garone, Movember CEO and co-founder

December 12, 2012

Were you wondering about the manicured moustaches, bushy beards, and grizzly goatees worn by men (and possibly women) over the last month? And why some of them are coming off now? Well, here’s what the fuzz is about: raising awareness of men’s health issues.

Men—especially young men in their teens and early twenties—can be particularly poor stewards of their own health. Movember is a global awareness and fundraising campaign, founded in Australia in 2003, with the ultimate goal to find a cure for prostate and testicular cancer. Its call to “Grow A Mo’” and its many non-traditional public displays (e.g., hairy faces, photos, and artwork) remind men, their loved ones, and the general public of the need to maintain appropriate check-ups and screening, as well as support the kinds of research needed to ultimately find cures. On a very personal note, I lost a teenaged cousin in the 1990s as a result of a way-too-late diagnosis of testicular cancer. Learning about Movember gives me hope that this type of health awareness can help prevent further loss. I recently caught up with Adam Garone to ask a few questions about his “mo”vement.

Autumn Walden, program managerAutumn: In Matthew Bishop’s 2010 Economist article 450,000 guys named Mo, he mentions how Movember has tapped the trend of “slacktivism” to engage donors. What are your thoughts on that?

Adam GaroneAdam: Changing your appearance for 30 days, becoming a walking, talking billboard for men’s health for 30 days, asking your friends and family to donate to your Movember effort is far from slack. Movember has created a new generation of philanthropy. Movember’s focus is on the Mo Bros and Mo Sistas who register as participants, we inspire them to create change and ask their friends and family to make donations. Movember does not seek donors, our community requests donations through their Mo-growing efforts.

Autumn: How much money have you raised and how is the money used?

Adam: To date, we have raised $360 million to “change the face of men’s health.” Funds from the 2012 campaign will continue to come in through April 2013, when our financial year ends. We work closely with our men’s health partners to ensure funds raised go to world-class programs in the areas of Awareness & Education, Survivorship, and Research. On such effort is our GAP, or Global Action Plan, to which brings together international prostate cancer researchers in an effort to accelerate research outcomes through global collaboration. By bringing together researchers to share data, this will avoid duplication of research efforts and deliver a greater return on the funds that Movember and other organizations invest in prostate cancer research.

Keeping both our past participants and donors up to date on the funded programs is very important. We do this by including new program information on our website, sending out outcomes-focused emails to our database, and pushing out information on programs through social and traditional media. An overview of the programs Movember funds and the impact we are having can be found at: http://us.movember.com/about/funding-overview/

Mo' Impact

Autumn: Do you like our Mo’ Impact graphic?

Adam: Nice job on the Mo’ Impact graphic!

* * *

We at the Center appreciate the role that education and awareness campaigns like Movember can play in helping potential beneficiaries, their loved ones, and potential donors recognize the scale and scope of a problem that can be easy or convenient for many people to avoid. What I’ll be most interested in following is how effectively the funds raised through the Movember campaign are used to develop cures. If growing a moustache means a first step towards the ultimate impact of saving a life, then you may see me sporting a ‘mo’ next November.

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