When Dr. Larry Lipshultz became the first Urology Care Foundation Research Scholar in 1975, he set out to explore what was causing male infertility.
"I was trying to find out clinically how to treat male patients," he said. "At the time, more and more (obstetricians and gynecologists) were starting to treat female infertility, but there wasn't much going on for male infertility."
Fast forward to today-what started as male infertility research has spread to include a whole new approach to men's health. Progress achieved by early pioneers, like Dr. Lipshultz, has led to new discoveries in testosterone replacement therapy, erectile dysfunction and even the overall well-being of men's health. All of this success has opened many doors for male-specific medicine.
"In the last 10 years, we've come to realize that men with infertility may already have, or be at risk for, other health problems," Dr. Lipshultz said. "These may include high blood pressure, heart disease or even certain types of cancer." Because of his research, Dr. Lipshultz would like to see all patients who are not producing enough sperm treated as a patient in ill health first, and not just as a patient who is infertile."
"We've published a lot of data on this topic. And even though we have all this information, the medical community doesn't yet fully understand that there is often a connection between male infertility and a man's overall health. We still have a lot of education we need to get out there," he said.
The scholarship award has grown over the last 40 years. It continues to thrive today.
"What started as male infertility research has expanded into a larger area of men's health. I don't think that would have ever been possible if it wasn't for the Urology Care Foundation Research Scholarship," he said.