Men are medically underserved. You can argue with me until the cows come home about why, but this simple fact is true. A boy has a pediatrician through adolescence and then…poof…no doctor after that. Sure, several doctors may come and go when he is a young adult but no single provider really” “owns” or oversees his care. I’d like to change this.
☞ Please see the official press release here.
What’s also true is that sexual health issues involving infertility, erectile dysfunction and testosterone are quite common in reproductive age men. As such, they serve as nice portals of entry through which young men can enter the world of adult medicine (often for the first time in their lives) and receive care. What a great opportunity for us as men’s health specialists!
An Elected Official
This past week I was elected President of the Society of Male Reproduction and Urology (SMRU). This is a professional society comprised of 235 of the world’s experts in male reproductive medicine. They are my colleagues and my friends. And I would bet that all 235 of them would agree with what I just said.
Leading a society of those who feel like I do is both an honor and a responsibility. It’s kind of like having sway over both the House and Senate as President. It presents a rare opportunity to get things done.
Small but Agile
Pound for pound, our little Society packs a lot of might. For decades, we have offered a variety of educational workshops, funded young scholars to attend meetings, provided quality mentorship to colleagues and served as a sounding board for scientific and medical issues in the field. So, in this sense our Society has high intrinsic professional value. But what is its value to the public?
It is the path to social relevance that I believe this Society should take. Although we have been the academic “face” of men’s health for years, we now need to engage the public, those who were are trying to serve. As men’s health specialists, we are nicely poised to fill the gap in the care of men that currently exists.
Given that over 85% of adult Americans use the Internet and most of them have sought healthcare information, online social media channels appear to be the best place to invest our energy. It’s also a space where the motivated few can reach a very wide audience. I want us to be there for patients, at home, on the road, or at work, imparting wisdom where only information exists. As we start down this path in earnest, I am reminded of the old Chinese proverb: “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach him to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.”