New Bellberry Fellowship boosts training in more holistic approaches to men’s health

Image of Dr Andrew Peel

Bellberry Fellow, Dr Andrew Peel

South Australia will launch its first medical training program to focus on Andrology – the study and practice of reproductive disorders in men - recognising the limited clinical and research expertise in this field. A unique aspect of this training program  is that it extends beyond andrology to take a holistic approach to male health.

Funded by Bellberry Limited, Healthy Male (Andrology Australia) and the Freemasons Centre for Male Health & Wellbeing (FCMHW), the inaugural 12-month Fellowship training program in the Central Adelaide Health Network has been awarded to Dr Andrew Peel, who will be based in its Endocrinology unit.

In his final three years of the 12-year study program that will give him a specialisation in endocrinology, Dr Peel says he is looking forward to making a difference to men’s health research and practice.

“From my experience of hospital settings, there is real room for improvement in gender-focused health awareness.  Targeted support for the health issues that affect men, and the way that men experience them has been lacking,” Dr Peel says.

“The Fellowship combines clincal training and research under the guidance of experts in the field. My research will focus on how obesity and nutrition affect fertllity in men. The outcomes of this work have implications for the health of the next generation.”

CEO of Bellberry Ltd, Kylie Sproston says the initiative recognises the real need for more expertise in men’s reproductive health but also the array of health and wellbeing factors that can contribute to poor reproductive health.

“Ethically, in research and practice, consideration must be given to sex and gender because they influence the prevalence, presentation, treatment, and outcomes of various conditions,” Ms Sproston says.

Targeted support for the health issues that affect men, and the way that men experience them has been lacking.” Dr Andrew Peel, Bellberry Fellow, University of Adelaide

“This is recognised nationally by separate Australian Women’s and Men’s Health Strategies. We are proud to partner in this initiative in South Australia under Bellberry’s grant funding for collaborative research projects, because we understand how important it is to invest in the training of health care professionals in both the research and clinical practice that addresses the specific health needs of men.”

CEO of Healthy Male, Simon von Saldern says it is increasingly recognised that male health needs should be considered beyond the traditionally narrow confines of urology and reproductive clinics which often focus more on women. 

Director of the SA Division of FCMHW at the University of Adelaide and SAHMRI, Professor Gary Wittert says it is clear that men have a broad range of health needs that transcend the boundaries of current sub-specialities.

“The evidence shows that these needs are not currently being met”, Professor Wittert says.

“Chronic disorders such as obesity, sleep apnoea, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and depression intersect with disorders of reproductive, sexual, and lower urinary tract function in men, interrelationships that can fall through the gaps between medical specialties.

“Examples include the complex health needs of men undergoing treatment for prostate cancer, and sexual or lower urinary tract dysfunction in men with other complex health conditions.”

Associate Professor David Jesudason, Head of the Speciality Medicine 2 Unit at CALHN says while the new Fellowship is not exclusive to trainees interested in specialising in endocrinology, the discipline is a good basis for a men’s health clinical position and, given the vast array of pathologies and the multisystem effects of endocrinological disorders, the discipline provides an in-depth knowledge of all organ systems. 

In keeping with this, the Endocrine Society of Australia has provided its full endorsement of the training program. 

David Booker, Grand Master of Freemasons SA/NT and Director of Masonic Charities, the major funding partner of FCMHW, says he is delighted to support the Bellberry Fellowship.

“This is a strong and responsive partnership that will make an important contribution to men’s health in South Australia and therefore to families and communities,” Mr Booker says. 

Tagged in featured story, Men's health, Bellberry Fellow, andrology