Dr. Michael Lutz, of Birmingham, has coordinated the annual  MIU Men’s Health Event for nine years.

Dr. Michael Lutz, of Birmingham, has coordinated the annual MIU Men’s Health Event for nine years.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

Local doctor looks back on nine years of free men’s health screenings

By: Tiffany Esshaki | C&G Newspapers | Published September 17, 2019

BIRMINGHAM — Dr. Michael Lutz is a urologist. He has, unfortunately, seen lots of cases of prostate cancer in his day.

Over the years, he has noticed that those who beat the disease all seem to share one thing — and it’s not his office.

“I’ve always been involved with caring for men as a primary focus of our specialty. And ever since my practice started, I wanted to understand survivorship, and it’s the entirety of their health that’s the solution,” said Lutz, of Birmingham.

In other words, the patients he treated who were otherwise healthy had a better shot at fighting their prostate cancer. So in 2009, Lutz decided to spread awareness about men’s health with a walk/run. The next year, he called up some friends and planned a region-wide, multiorganization health expo.

“There are so many partners and sponsors who believe in what I believe, and they know this helps the community. So you’ve got different hospitals and insurance companies (that) can come together and play in the same sandbox,” he said.

Lutz said he remembers how many people doubted his idea. They’re men, after all. How many guys will show up at Ford Field on a weekend without the hope of seeing a Detroit Lions win?

“They said no one is going to show, and then we had 400 people waiting at 9 a.m. Men were standing in line all day just to find out if they were healthy or not,” he said. “There’s more than enough data from these types of screening events to show that 60% of attendees go on to get follow-up health care after these events.”

So the following year, Lutz did it again.

And then again.

Nine years later, the Michigan Institute of Urology’s nonprofit foundation will host this year’s Men’s Health Event on Saturday, Sept. 21, at Ford Field in downtown Detroit with more screenings, giveaways, raffles and food than ever.

More than 16,000 metro Detroiters attended last year’s expo, and more than 60,000 health screenings have been administered to date. Cumulatively, the free screenings offered at the event — ranging from liver function to blood pressure and cardiac health, vision, hearing, mental health, glucose, and so much more — would comprehensively be valued at around $2,000.

But if an ailment is potentially discovered and treated thanks to those tests, the worth is certainly much more.

“Last year, we had four positive HIV tests. The results are instant, and those patients were instantly counseled. We’ve had patients with widely metastatic prostate cancer, with blood sugar over 400 (milligrams per deciliter) who never knew they were diabetic, and patients who were in hypertensive crisis who never knew they were on the edge of having a heart attack or stroke,” Lutz said.

“The MIU Men’s Health Event was life-changing for me,” Frank Migliore, of Clarkston, said in a prepared statement. He’s lost 135 pounds since he first attended the event two years ago.

“I’ve learned so much; I go every year now,” Nathaniel Hinton, of Detroit, said in a prepared statement. He found out he had prostate cancer from the results of his screenings at the event.

“It’s a good thing I went, because it’s better to find out early and not late — we’re treating it now.”

One case the good doctor remembers particularly well from a past event was when an older man came in and stood in the lobby looking a bit lost.

“I asked how I could help, and he said he wasn’t sure what he needed to do, so he asked what we have here. So I explained, ‘Well, over here is bloodwork and that way you’ve got something else and over there is where we’re doing mental health screenings. He said, ‘I think I need some of those mental health services,’” Lutz said. “I walked him over and it turned out he was suicidal. That day, we prevented his suicide.”

Along with blood tests and exams, attendees can relax with free massages, lunch, haircuts and plenty of swag. Orangetheory Fitness will offer exercise demonstrations, Black Men Run will lead a mile-long run/walk, and Holy Yoga will offer a beginner-friendly all-levels yoga class right on Ford Field.

Each year, Lutz said, the expo is a lot of work to coordinate, but dissolving the epidemic of white coat syndrome in southeast Michigan, even if just for a bit, is well worth the effort.

“We make Ford Field their home for the day,” he said.

The ninth annual MIU Men’s Health Event will be held 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21. Attendees 18 and older are welcome to attend, with or without health insurance. There is no cost to attend.

For more information or to register in advance, visit themenshealthevent.org.

Ford Field is located at 2000 Brush St. in Detroit.