Manitoba's first Men's Health Clinic

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Dr. Jay Nayak (left) and Dr. Premal Patel are the co-founders of the Manitoba Men's Health Clinic, a first-of-its-kind clinic opening soon in Winnipeg.

The province’s first clinic focused on men’s health is set to open at the end of February.

Men’s Health Clinic Manitoba will be headed by co-founders Dr. Jay Nayak, a urologic oncologist, and Dr. Premal Patel, a urologist, who are both assistant professors at the University of Manitoba’s surgery department.

When it opens its doors in Seasons of Tuxedo in Winnipeg’s south end, it will be the first men’s health clinic in Manitoba and the first run by urology specialists in Canada, Patel said.

"Right now, there’s a lot of disjointed aspects of health care, and unfortunately, with COVID, things have been exacerbated, wait times are becoming quite long for procedures, even consultation," he said Tuesday.

"So our goal is to have a streamlined approach to these conditions — men who are suffering from erectile dysfunction, men who have testosterone issues, men who have penile curvatures — a lot of these conditions are extremely common, a lot of guys don’t really know much about it, and they don’t really know where to go."

The first point of contact for these issues is typically a primary care physician, who then refers the patient to specialists like Patel and Nayak. Specialist referrals can take anywhere from three to 12 months, especially when the referral isn’t considered malignant or urgent.

The pair are hoping having specialists and an on-site primary care doctor all in one place will allow patients to self-refer to the clinic, reducing wait times and caseloads for hospitals.

"When we think about vasectomies, I perform a lot of them at Health Sciences (Centre), so by being able to have our own procedure suite, you’re able to take the procedures out of the main hospital," Patel said.

"It just lessens the traffic in the tertiary care sites… It kind of takes that (pressure) away from the public system."

The clinic will also have an operating room and perform a range of procedures, around 80 percent of which they expect to see being covered by public insurance.

In time, Patel said, they’ll expand and bring on more staff and specialists. He hopes the clinic provides a space for men to talk about health issues they might consider embarrassing or anxiety-inducing, especially considering many issues are a sign of more serious problems.

"When I talk to patients, they’re like, ‘I thought I was the only one,’" Patel said. "And so our goal is to kind of have a place where people feel comfortable going to."

There’s a lot of benefit to providing spaces where men can get answers to questions they have about their health — be it physical or mental — from people who specialize in the field, sociologist Christopher Schneider said.

"Hearing from other men would help individuals to understand that it’s not just a unique problem to them," said Schneider, who sits on the board for the John Howard Society in Brandon, which provides a men’s resource center.

"For example, if we look at social health, public health and men’s suicide rates, which are very high, especially in rural men… to have something like this (is important), where men could connect with other men, and share these issues and know that they’re not suffering in silence or suffering alone."
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Premal Patel!

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