Better Life Carolinas is thrilled to welcome Dr. H. Merrill Matschke to the team! Dr. Matschke, a board-certified urologist, graduated from Dartmouth College and completed medical school at Northwestern University. After completing his residency, he moved to Houston to pursue a fellowship in male reproductive medicine and surgery at Baylor.
Long before attending medical school, Dr. Matschke developed a passion for understanding the way the body works – one that still inspires him to help each patient live their best life.
And now, after viewing medicine through the lens of the traditional health care system for 15 years, Dr. Matschke has wholeheartedly embraced his passion for illness prevention and health optimization.
To provide patients with a glimpse at the man behind the M.D., we’ve asked Dr. Matschke a few questions about what brought him here – and what he’s learned along the way.
When did you first decide to go into medicine?
I knew my interest was in the medical field early in high school, and I credit my Freshman Honors Biology teacher with igniting my interest in human physiology. While many of my classmates complained about all the memorization required for the exams, I experienced a deep fascination and sincere curiosity that I’d never felt before. That class sparked a desire to fully comprehend how the various organs systems accomplished their goals, and it was the natural course of this interest that ultimately paved my path to medicine.
What influenced you to choose your specialty?
I initially chose urology as a specialty due to its unique combination of surgical and medical components. I knew I enjoyed the challenge and excitement of operating, but I also had to have a core of longitudinal patient care as well. Many other surgical fields lack the opportunity for long-term patient relationships, but urology allowed me to pursue my love of operating along with my desire to cultivate meaningful patient relationships over the years.
Within urology, I chose to further subspecialize in sexual/reproductive health, andrology and male infertility. This afforded me the opportunity to explore my interest in men’s health. Eventually, this lead to my true passion in general health, preventative health, and wellness for both men and women. Seeing the impact our modern lifestyle and behaviors has had on sexual health and fertility potential opened my eyes to the glaring need for a broader approach to our idea of health care. So much of what I was seeing in my urology practice was rooted in poor nutrition and fitness lifestyle, which led me to refocus my attention to keeping people healthy rather than treating them once they had made themselves sick.
Thus, after 15 years of a busy urologic practice in the Chicago suburbs, I have chosen to pivot into an area of medicine sorely underserved and underappreciated. Age management medicine represents the formalization of preventative health and clinical wellness into a specialty committed to optimizing health. In a way, this is precisely what sparked my initial interest in medicine.
What do you love most about your work?
Fulfillment for me comes from seeing someone benefit from my help. It is honestly that simple. A genuine rapport is necessary to effectively communicate as a physician – and I enjoy cultivating relationships that lead to such a rapport. This is what opens up the trust and vulnerability so key to making real strides in effecting change in behaviors. I have personally transformed my health and understand the challenges that can derail even the best intentions. When I can use my own experience to help guide another towards a path to healthier aging, the work is no longer work for me.
What is one thing you want patients to know about you?
No one is perfect, including me. When it comes to eating habits and focus on fitness, I have battled in the past with poor choices and priorities just like many of my patients. I suffered from childhood obesity and briefly took charge of my health only to fail again during the stress and rigors of medical school and residency. I could easily have been labeled a “yo-yo dieter” over the years and only recently have I come to understand that diet is a four-letter word.
I have transformed my health largely based on the impact of some major life events. Over the course of my journey, I have come to understand that each and every one of us arrives at important decisions in our own way – and at our own speed. Traveling down this road before has given me some insight into guiding others to their version of health.
Tell us about some of your hobbies outside of work.
My life outside of work revolves around my family. My wife, Nicole, and I have twin boys who will be 3 years old in October. I waited until later in life to start a family and I am committed to being an ever-present father to my sons. I have heard far too many men comment that if “they had it to do over again,” they would spend more time with their children. I want to know that I could never say that in the years to come.
As die-hard baseball fans, my wife and I enjoy attending as many games as possible every year in hopes that our boys will catch the bug as well. Unfortunately, she remains loyal to her Milwaukee Brewers while I root for the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs. Our rivalry spills over into football as well – the classic Packers-Bears story. We also love traveling and spending as much time as we can outdoors. And I have been known to drag my boys to any local automobile show.
To learn more about Dr. Matschke and the rest of the Better Life Carolinas team, click here. Or call Better Life Carolinas at 843-737-2597 today to schedule an appointment. It’s time to get back to a better place!