Boost to men's health with $2 million centre
In a major step forward for men's health in Australia, the University of Adelaide and the Freemasons Foundation have jointly established the Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men's Health, which aims to enable men to live longer, healthier and happier lives.
To be established within the University of Adelaide's School of Medicine, the $2.2 million centre is the first of its kind in Australia and one of only a handful of centres in the world with a focus on all aspects of men's health.
It aims to:
- raise the public profile of men's health issues;
- develop effective strategies for promoting positive health and wellbeing among men and boys;
- develop effective treatments for health conditions and diseases affecting men; and
- to build a critical mass of researchers and practitioners with interests in various aspects of men's health.
Sir Eric Neal, former Governor of South Australia, is the principal patron of the new centre. The Director of the centre is Professor Villis Marshall, an internationally recognised consultant in urology, educator and researcher.
"Australian men have unacceptably high rates of physical and psychological disease, and are not inclined to adopt healthy lifestyles," said the Head of the University's School of Medicine, Professor Gary Wittert.
"Preliminary results of the Florey Adelaide Male Ageing Study being conducted at the University of Adelaide present an alarming picture of men's health, with obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression, insomnia, and erectile dysfunction all being severe problems in Australia's male population.
"Combined with the challenges posed by an ageing population, poor health and wellbeing poses a major threat to our productivity and economic growth as a State and a nation," Professor Wittert said.
Grand Master of the South Australian and Northern Territory Freemasons Graham Bollenhagen said the Freemasons Foundation was keen to partner with the University of Adelaide to address the shortfall in research and public information about men's health.
"By sharing interests, strengths and resources, this partnership is sure to deliver on life-changing research to benefit all men," Mr Bollenhagen said.
"The Freemasons Foundation sees improving the health and wellbeing of Australians as essential to improving social and economic prosperity.
"The University of Adelaide, through studies such as the Florey Adelaide Male Ageing Study and others, already has a strong track record of research into men's health, and we want to ensure that the University is able to build upon its efforts so that its work can make a real impact on the health and wellbeing of men in Australia."
The Freemasons Foundation and the University of Adelaide are co-funding the establishment of the centre. Funding is also being provided for two Freemasons Foundation Research Fellows and six Freemasons Foundation PhD Scholarships.
"This support will be critical in ensuring that research efforts are quickly established within the centre and are sustained through early career researchers," said the centre's Chief Executive Officer, Anne Hayes.
"We already know a lot about men's health, but there are also many areas in which we need to know more to develop effective strategies to improve health and wellbeing.
"Initially, the centre will seek to build on existing research strengths in aspects of men's health, but as additional funds are secured, new priority research areas can be identified and pursued."
Story by David Ellis