Masonic Charities, the charitable arm of Freemasons SA and NT, is contributing $1.8 million over three years towards a new centre in Darwin specialising in men’s health research.
The Freemason’s Centre for Male Health and Wellbeing is an alliance between The Masonic Charities, Menzies School of Health and Research, the University of Adelaide, Flinders University and the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute.
“We’re particularly keen to focus on Indigenous male health, boys and young men’s health, fathering and fatherhood, social and emotional wellbeing, as well as equity and action on the social determinants of health,” said Professor James Smith, chief investigator and project manager.
“The development of community partnerships, involving both women and men, will be fundamental for achieving health gains for the families and communities of the NT.
“The centre will empower Menzies to grow its influence and play a major part in helping to shape health policy and practice locally.
“The centre will considerably build research capacity across the NT, allowing our researchers to make significant contributions in these areas of need that will steer us towards becoming a healthier society.”
Professor Gary Wittert, director of the FCMHW SA Division, said there was a need for a sex-specific approach to advance health globally and pointed to poor health outcomes for men across a number of areas, from accidental death and injury to lifestyle-related health issues and higher incidences of chronic disease.
“We now know that this is not simply a case of men avoiding health care and behaving badly,” Prof Wittert said.
The Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men’s Health started in 2007 as a partnership between the Freemasons Foundation and the University of Adelaide. The FCMHW has evolved out of this early initiative and gained global recognition for the work its researchers have done in men’s health, notably in prostate cancer, chronic disease, sexual and reproductive health, preventative health and health services.
The NT centre at the Royal Darwin Hospital Campus was opened on November 10.