Michael E. Metz Fellowship in Couples' Sexual Health
The Michael E. Metz Fellowship in Couples' Sexual Health is a two-year program that provides training in the general area of sexual therapy with a particular emphasis in the area of relationship and couples' sexual health. This fellowship will focus on expanding access to care and advancing research to better understand, diagnose, and treat couples' sexual health concerns.
Fellows in the Program in Human Sexuality with an emphasis in Couples' Sexual Health spend 40% of their time conducting research projects under faculty supervision, with a goal of presenting results at a scientific conference or preparing an article for publication. They spend 60% of their time providing clinical care focused on couples' sexual health as well as treating a variety of sexual and gender health conditions, under the supervision of experienced professionals. They will conduct research that will make a direct contribution to the field of couples’ sexual health.
The goals for the fellowship program, with a combined 40% research 60% clinical care model are to:
- Provide up-to-date training in the assessment and treatment of a variety of sexual concerns
- Provide more in-depth and up-to-date training in the assessment and treatment of couples with sexual health concerns
- Provide education to medical students, family medicine residents on topics such as sex history taking, basic counseling skills for sexual and gender problems and concerns.
- Engage in scholarly activity (40% of time) that advances skills in research design, analysis, report writing, and presentation in the area of couples' sexual health
Abby Girard, PsyD, was the second Michael E. Metz postdoctoral fellow at the Program in Human Sexuality, with research and clinical work centered on couples’ sexual health. Her dissertation research focused on the role of infidelity typologies in predicting attachment anxiety and avoidance. Her clinical training has included psychotherapy experience in community counseling centers, outpatient sexual medicine clinics, and treating individuals and couples in private practice.
Jennifer A. Vencill, PhD, is a licensed psychologist at the Mayo Clinic. Her research interests include health disparities and minority stress in marginalized sexual communities, mixed orientation relationships, and women’s sexual health. Dr. Vencill’s clinical training has included psychotherapy and assessment experience in community clinics, university counseling centers, and both inpatient and outpatient medical settings. Dr. Vencill was PHS' first Michael E. Metz postdoctoral fellow.
Michael E. Metz
The Michael E. Metz Fellowship in Couples’ Sexual Health is created to honor the life and work of Michael E. Metz, PhD. Metz was a nationally respected psychologist and couples therapist, who for 12 years served on the faculty of the University of Minnesota Medical School and directed the Relationship and Sex Therapy program. As a clinician he worked with more than 6,000 couples, addressing and resolving relationship and sexual problems, improving their quality of life. He was a major spokesperson for a comprehensive, integrated "biopsychosocial" approach (attention to comprehensive medical, psychological, and interpersonal features) to addressing and resolving relationship conflict and sexual problems.
As a writer, he authored more than 60 professional articles and book chapters in the areas of couple intimacy, relationship conflict styles, sexual health, sexual medicine, and cognitive-behavioral features of satisfying relationships. He was the author of 4 books with Barry McCarthy: Enduring Desire, Men's Sexual Health, Coping With Erectile Dysfunction (ED), and Coping With Premature Ejaculation (PE). Coping With Erectile Dysfunction was awarded the 2007 SSTAR Best Consumer Sexual Health Book by the Society for Sex Therapy and Research as well as receiving the 2011 Self Help Book Seal of Merit Award from the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy. Enduring Desire was awarded the 2011 Best Book Award by the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists.
He conceptualized the “Good Enough Sex Model” which was greeted with great appreciation. The model uses cognitive, behavioral, emotional, and relation factors to promote cohesion, cooperation, and intimacy.
Metz received many awards during his career. He was awarded the Minnesota Association for Marriage and Family Therapy’s Lifetime Distinguished Service Award, as well as two distinguished service awards from the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. Most recently he was acknowledged for his lifetime contributions by the Society of Sex Therapy and Research.
The Michael E. Metz Fellowship in Couples’ Sexual Health has been made possible through a generous gift from his wife Hildy Bowbeer.
Nicholas Newstrom earned his undergraduate degree from the University of St. Thomas (MN) and his master's in Marriage and Family Therapy from St. Mary's University (MN). He recently earned his Ph.D. in Family Social Science (Couple and Family Therapy emphasis) from the University of Minnesota. Prior to his fellowship at PHS, he was a graduate assistant at the University of Minnesota’s, Program in Human Sexuality working on developing and evaluating a risk assessment tool for adult male sex offenders led by Dr. Michael Miner and Dr. Beatrice ‘Bean’ Robinson. As a Michael E. Metz fellow, he is interested in how men and women signal consent when engaging in sexual behaviors. Nicholas has published articles in family therapy and sexuality journals and has co-authored a book chapter on juveniles who commit sexual abuse. Clinically, Nicholas is a licensed marriage and family therapist and AAMFT approved supervisor who has experience working with couples, families, and individuals. When he is not conducting research or working as a therapist, he enjoys movies, sports, and spending time with his partner and pugs.
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