PROVIDENCE – The Miriam Hospital has opened a new Men’s Health Center that it says is the nation’s first center to pull together primary care physicians, urologists and mental health professionals in a collaborative effort to treat men’s sexual and overall health.
The center will use multidisciplinary treatment teams – including nurses and couples therapists – to provide everything from physical examinations to diagnostic procedures to medical treatments for men and, as appropriate, their partners.
“We know that there is a substantial link between men’s sexual health and their overall health, yet many men are reluctant to seek preventive medical care, and when they do, sexual dysfunction is often overlooked as a potential red flag, especially with younger and middle-aged men,” said Dr. Martin Miner, co-director of the Men’s Health Center and a family physician at Miriam.
“If we want to address a man’s sexual health,” he added, “we need to look at the entire patient from head to toe. That’s why we have established a men’s health center that integrates sexual medicine with urology, cardiology, oncology, psychiatry and internal medicine.”
Recent studies have examined the link between men’s sexual health and cardiovascular disease and found, among other things, that erectile dysfunction, which affects up to 30 million U.S. men, can be an early warning sign for heart disease.
All patients visiting the new center will undergo a full physical examination, the hospital said, including a cardiovascular screening. Clinicians also will evaluate the metabolic and cardiovascular risks in patients with ED and hypogonadism in hopes of detecting conditions such as cardiovascular disease, obesity and metabolic syndrome (or “pre-diabetes”) before they become life-threatening. All patients will receive a psychological assessment, and couples therapy for sexual issues will be offered.
In addition, the center will focus on restoring sexual function for men who have been treated for prostate, colorectal and other cancers; patients with chronic diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease; and those who have suffered a heart attack or undergone coronary artery disease intervention.
Research and education also will play key roles in the Men’s Health Center, the hospital said. Short-term plans call for establishing a multidisciplinary research program in sexual health within The Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University and further developing the school’s sexual health teaching program.
The center’s designated clinic space at Miriam will not be completed until late summer, but patients are already being seen.
The Miriam Hospital is affiliated with The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and a founding member of the Lifespan health system. For more information, go to www.lifespan.org.
For more information about the Men’s Health Center, call 793-4636.