Australian-first to improve men’s health

23 Nov 2023
Australian-first to improve men’s health

An Australian-first training program aiming to improve medical practitioners’ expertise in men’s health and andrology will be established in Adelaide through the Freemasons Centre for Male Health and Wellbeing (FCMHW) based at SAHMRI.

A pair of health practitioners will be offered a Fellowship in andrology and men’s health as part of the one-of-a-kind program, being funded with a $250,000 grant by The Hospital Research Foundation (THRF) Group.

Announced by THRF Group CEO Paul Flynn at the 2023 FCMHW Men’s Health Breakfast, the program will run across two years following a successful trial in 2022.

Australian men have a shorter average life expectancy than women and die more often than women from preventable causes, prompting the need for more specialised care.

The program will be led by FCMHW Director, Professor Gary Wittert who says the Fellows will take part in a series of one-to-one specialist training designed to expand their knowledge and ability to manage medical issues affecting men.

“It includes everything from learning to communicate with men in practice, to disorders of male hormones, sexual function, fertility, prostate cancer and recognising mental health difficulties in men. It is quite comprehensive across the spectrum,” Prof Wittert said.

“Men’s health typically runs across different specialties and so I think having training that crosses and bridges these areas, will lead to overall better health outcomes for men.”

“The aim is for this to influence the training of medical students and primary care practitioners, and with flow on we hope to see improvements within the community generally.”

The curriculum will also address health inequity, with a course focusing on understanding how the health system impacts Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men, those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, remotely located men, and men from the LGBTQI+ community.

Prof Wittert says the program aims to establish a local workforce which can take a holistic approach to men’s health. Trainees will also undertake a research project, with the opportunity to expand to a PhD.

The first 12-month Fellowship has been awarded to Dr Sam Tafari, currently completing a master’s degree in public health. Dr Tafari will commence the role in February.

“It’s such a privilege to have been selected to be part of this initiative, the goal of which is to ultimately help develop an andrology and men’s health service for South Australians,” Dr Tafari said.

“It represents an opportunity to work and train with some pioneering clinicians who have come through their own training and experience to become leaders in the field.”

“What is so unique and exciting about this fellowship is the opportunity to be part of the first generation of specialists to train here in our great state, with all the opportunities that entails. It means a lot, and there's nowhere else I’d rather be.”

Prof Wittert thanked THRF Group for providing the funding to make the Fellowships possible.

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