Women’s History Month 2013 – community engagement mission

March 27, 2013 College News - In honor of Women’s History Month, the Medical College of Wisconsin has created a series of video vignettes and stories that will be posted on InfoScope during the month of March. The vignettes highlight some of our women faculty, staff and students and the contributions they have made. The stories highlight MCW programs that improve women’s health or help develop women students, physicians, researchers, educators and leaders.

The fourth story in the series features MCW community engagement efforts aimed at improving women’s health. In addition to providing affordable care to women in the community, College faculty, staff and students are involved in numerous education opportunities that promote women’s health. Some of these community outreach efforts are listed below. All of the vignettes and stories will be added to the College's Women's History Month 2013 Web page as they are published.

Community Education

The College has established a series of core lectures on women’s health for presentations in the community. Patient and family support groups are also led by MCW, including a gynecologic oncology group that meets monthly. Each support group session offers a timely topic with an outside speaker, a physician present to answer questions, and a chance to mingle with women who have a similar diagnosis.

Breast Cancer Prevention

Froedtert Hospital Foundation, in partnership with the Department of Family and Community Medicine, has undertaken two American Cancer Society-funded projects that are aimed at breast cancer prevention through community education. In one of the projects targeting early detection of breast cancer in high-risk African-American women, MCW faculty members are evaluating the effectiveness of a documentary film that showcases Milwaukee survivors who share their stories. The goal of this project is to establish and facilitate a breast health-screening plan for first-degree relatives of Milwaukee African-American survivors of pre-menopausal breast cancer.  

The second project is encouraging African-American women to better adhere to American Cancer Society recommendations for early breast cancer detection, which includes reducing the amount of time for follow-up in cases where abnormal mammograms occur. The project design implements community-based participatory research that involves input from the community as well as medical experts.

In a third project, MCW is teaming with the United Community Center to identify the best ways to educate Latina women in Milwaukee on breast cancer prevention.

Kohl’s Conversations for the Cure

The Center for Healthy Communities and Research at MCW is the evaluator for Kohl’s Conversations for the Cure, a series of educational sessions where women can openly discuss breast cancer and the potential impact on their lives. The goal of these sessions is to encourage women to get regular breast health screenings, thereby increasing survival rates throughout southeast Wisconsin.

Homeless Outreach in Medical Education

Medical College Homeless Outreach in Medical Education (HOME) students are medical students with an interest in homeless health. Through collaboration with the Milwaukee Women’s Center, HOME students have undertaken tasks that help the center fulfill its mission. That mission is to provide holistic care to empower women and families who are experiencing abuse to live safe, independent and healthy lives. Throughout the year, the HOME students provide health education classes at the Women’s Center and tutor homeless children.

On April 21, HOME students are holding a Women’s Health Fair at the Women’s Center, where they will provide basic health screens, nutrition information, physician consultation in the form of an “Ask the Doctor” booth, and guidance on prevention of women’s cancers, infant sleeping death and dental issues.

Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program

The Medical College’s Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program supports community-MCW partnerships that address public and community health improvement. Of the 140 projects HWPP has funded, 60 have indicated working with women as a target audience.  More than $17.7 million has been provided to organizations across the state through Impact and Development awards to develop, implement or evaluate health promotion or health-related prevention activities affecting women’s health.  In addition, 13 projects with an exclusive focus on women as a primary population have received more than $2.4 million to address women’s health.  Funded project activities have ranged from improving the health of women and families in rural Wisconsin through interventions, to increase levels of physical activity and healthy eating patterns, to increasing access to health screening, preventive education and advocacy for underserved women who are involved with the criminal justice system in Milwaukee. Other projects have included:

  • Circles of Sisters:  Enhancing Family Development with Doula Care for Beloit Teen Mothers and their Children
  • Family Risk Reduction Intervention with Female Juvenile Delinquents
  • Healthcare Can Change From Within: A Sustainable Model for Intimate Partner Violence
  • Holistic Health Planning for Women Offenders
  • Domestic Violence Screening in South Central Wisconsin
  • PEARLS for Teen Girls High Risk Intervention
  • Promoting Healthy Body Weight among African American Women through a Community Participatory Model
  • The Sisters Project: Helping Women Exit the Violence of Prostitution
  • A social network approach for health and safety among rural intimate partner violence survivors
  • Salud de la Mujer: Community Developed Materials to Increase Health Literacy in a Latino Community

Sharing Emerging Issues with the Broader Medical Community
The Women’s Health Research Program holds an ongoing seminar and interactive group discussion that puts Medical College experts together with diverse groups of researchers, doctors, and other healthcare providers to discuss emerging issues related to women’s health. The program attracts a wide audience from the local healthcare community and the College’s hospital affiliates.  Over two dozen sessions have been held on topics ranging from maternal outcomes following complications at childbirth, chronic pain, genetics of obesity, toxin exposure in utero, breast cancer prevention, and outcomes following breast cancer care.

Women’s Health Conference
Once again, the Medical College’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology will be sponsoring the Women’s Health Conference on Friday, April 26. The audience for the conference includes family practitioners, obstetricians/gynecologists, nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, and registered nurses. Topics at this year’s conference will include the impact of chronic disease in outcomes of pregnancy, surgery and general health of women, updates in general guidelines in the treatment of sexually transmitted infections recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and addressing the quality of life of women in the presence of various chronic conditions. More information on topics is available at obgyn.mcw.edu/whc.

Family Planning Clinic
Part of the Obstetrics and Gynecology clinic, the Froedtert Comprehensive Contraception and Family Planning clinic offers contraception consultations for all women with a focus on those with complex medical problems. Women establish a pregnancy prevention plan that fits her personal goals while at the same time taking an evidence-based approach to the control of fertility in the setting of various medical problems.

Obstetrics and Gynecology Care for HIV Patients
In partnership with the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW), which provides a unique health care delivery model to assure the highest quality of care for their patients, the Department of Ob/Gyn holds a monthly HPV/HIV clinic which supplies supplemental gynecologic care for this special population. Although women with HIV have similar issues to those without, more attention needs to be paid to potential drug interactions and possible opportunistic infections. Patients are able to schedule a visit to the Ob/Gyn clinic at any time; however this special clinic is reserved specifically for this population.

Peer Teen Advocates
Through a Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program Development Award, a faculty member within the Department of Ob/Gyn has partnered with the Milwaukee Health Department, the Boys and Girls Club of Milwaukee, and the Department of Family and Community Medicine to increase awareness and literacy regarding HPV among urban adolescents who are engaging in high risk behaviors. By using peer health advocates as the relevant messengers, these partners have combined their resources in hope of delivering clear and appropriate reproductive health messages. The overall goals are to educate youth, stimulate their self-interest in seeking the HPV vaccination in a sustainable way and communicating the significance of HPV infection to the parents of the population at risk.

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