MANKATO — The idea seemed logical. In the early days of the annual Mankato Clinic Men's Health Forum, they always scheduled a big-name, marquee-type keynote speaker to attract more men to the event.
Once in the door, organizers figured, the men would stay and learn from Mankato Clinic health care providers about prostate health, nutrition, aging and other staples of men's health.
What they found out, though, is that the forum had two distinct audiences: One there to see the keynote (such as Will Steger one year,) and another to get health information directly from providers — doctors, dietitians, etc. — at the forum.
And it was that second group that was growing and providing the clinic with the most enthusiastic feedback. So, out went the keynote speaker approach, and in came a bigger focus on practical information delivered by Mankato Clinic health care providers.
"What people were asking for is information from our providers," said the Mankato Clinic's Ceceli Polzin.
This year's forum takes place Thursday evening and features nine different presentations on everything from Achilles tendon problems to something titled, "You Don't Have to Be the Family Garbage Disposal: What Men Need to Know About Nutrition and Portion Sizes."
In the case of the latter, it will be taught my Mankato Clinic Dietitian Erin Gonzalez, who typically teaches this kind of class to women. But she and the clinic are finding it's equally applicable to men, and in the early registrations, that session has been a popular one.
Others have been popular, as well. In fact, two of them — a heart health talk by Dr. Manpreet Kanwar, and a memory problems talk by Dr. Lisa Davidson — are already closed to new registrants. The forum is free, but organizers strongly encourage pre-registration, which can be done online at mankatoclinic.com.