Junior Faculty Sought for Career Training in Male Reproductive Health Research

By Sharon Brock

Paul Turek

Paul Turek, MD, director of the UCSF Male Reproductive Health Center, is recruiting junior faculty to join a career training program in the emerging field of men's reproductive health. The Men's Reproductive Health Research (MRHR) program, made possible by a $2 million grant offered for the first time by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will train investigators and physicians who want to become full-time faculty and are in the early stages of their career as academics. Clinicians who have completed residency or fellowship training and who are interested in clinical, translational, epidemiologic or basic scientific research are encouraged to contact Turek to learn more about this training program. Research topics include hormone problems, sexual dysfunction, erectile dysfunction, infertility, stem cell technology, sexually transmitted diseases and testis cancer. Turek, a professor of urology at UCSF, says young men are among the least to use health care services. "Young men aged 22 to 45 are culturally told to be productive, not complain and keep things to yourself. For these reasons, they receive disproportionately little medical care in the United States. They are the ultimate underserved population," says Turek. "The health care system is not geared to the unique problems of young men, and these individuals are not big users of health care. Remarkably, I routinely see men for a vasectomy who have never seen a doctor previously. Further, we know very little about the effect of medical problems in young men on issues of productivity, quality of life and self-esteem. Men just don't talk much about it." Pathway to Success An MRHR advisory committee, consisting of some of the top scientists and clinicians at UCSF and elsewhere, will select two junior faculty members to begin the program for two to five years beginning in July 2007. Applications for the program are being reviewed on a rolling basis. Scholars will be assigned two to four of 15 mentors from UCSF and Kaiser Permanente who are multidisciplinary experts in basic science, clinical and translational epidemiological research. Scholars will take courses to correct deficits in knowledge related to men's reproductive health, and will attend seminars in teaching and grant writing, among others. "We want to make sure that doctors who want to be successful in academics can make it, by creating a heavily mentored research path that is tailored to the needs of the scholar and that minimizes the elements of chance and luck in career success," says Turek. "Through this training program, the pathway is focused and organized. I believe that superb academic clinicians are made, not born, and most are made through superb mentorship." The principal investigators of the grant are Peter R. Carroll, MD, and Linda Giudice, MD, PhD. "In the short term, the goal of the program is to train the next generation of men's reproductive health researchers," says Giudice. "In the long term, the goal is to increase the focus on men's reproductive health, prevention and treatment of men's reproductive disorders." Turek explains the novel features of the MRHR program: First, this is the first time the NIH has awarded a grant for young men's health research. Second, the program takes a multidisciplinary approach to training with mentors culled from a variety of departments, including urology, obstetrics and gynecology, endocrinology and other related disciplines. Finally, the program has an advocacy core that will develop infrastructure for support groups, public awareness and philanthropy. "It's nice to see the NIH turn its eye toward this problem and address fundamental issues with young men's health," says Turek. "In some ways, it's a revolution in medical care, as it could be the beginning of a new health care movement the first time that this problem has been systematically addressed in our country. That's what excites me the most." Those interested in applying for the MRHR program, should contact Turek at 415/353-7352 or email. Related Links: Male Reproductive Health Center