Women’s History Month 2016 – patient care efforts

March 14, 2016 MCW 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 online during the month of March. The vignettes highlight some of our women faculty, staff and students and the contributions they have made. The stories also highlight MCW programs that improve women’s health or help develop female students, physicians, researchers, educators and leaders.

All of the vignettes and stories will be added to the MCW Honoring Diversity Web page as they are published.

This story focuses on our patient care efforts.

Patient care efforts aimed at improving women’s health

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 their personal goals while at the same time taking an evidence-based approach to the control of fertility in the setting of various medical problems.  If you would like to learn more about our family planning clinic, please see our website.

Obstetrics and Gynecology Care for HIV Patients
In collaboration with the MCW Department of Infectious Diseases and AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, which provides a unique healthcare delivery model to assure the highest quality of care for their patients, the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology holds a clinic for HIV-positive women which supplies supplemental gynecologic care for this special population. Although women with HIV have similar issues to those without, they are more likely to have complicated conditions and more severe forms of disease.  Infections with human papillomavirus (HPV) in particular are more complicated with difficult to manage.  Additionally, attention needs to be paid to potential drug interactions and possible opportunistic infections. Please visit our website.

Adolescent Gynecology
Pediatric and adolescent gynecology is an emerging specialty, at the intersection of pediatrics, pediatric endocrinology, gynecology, pediatric surgery, dermatology, psychiatry, public health medicine and genetics.  This specialty addresses a wide spectrum of diseases from the newborn period to adolescence. Gynecological problems encountered in children and adolescents are often both medically, surgically and psychologically complex and thus require a highly skilled and coherent approach.  The Adolescent Gynecology Clinic, located at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin (in the Clinics Building), focuses on the gynecology health concerns of children and adolescents, from infants to teens. If you’d like to know more about our offerings for adolescent gynecology, please visit our website

Gynecology Oncology
At Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Center, a multidisciplinary-team approach gives gynecologic cancer patients every advantage possible. State-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment options, including participation in clinical trials, are provided. An entire team of experts follows each patient from screening to diagnosis, treatment and after-care.

The physicians of the Gynecologic Cancer Program are fellowship-trained gynecologic oncologists and radiation oncologists. They have an in-depth understanding of cancers of the female reproductive system, and they devote their practice to treating women with these complex diseases. Learn more about our gynecologic oncology offerings here.

Maternal-Fetal Medicine
Maternal-Fetal Medicine, sometimes called perinatology, involves providing specialized care for all types of complications of pregnancy, including women who have serious illnesses.  These illnesses may be either in association with, or as the result of pregnancy.  Care is also provided for pregnancies in which there is a suspected or established fetal abnormality, and the practice provides diagnostic, therapeutic and counseling services, including genetic consultations. Invasive fetal therapy is also performed, in collaboration with specialists at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and the Fetal Concerns Center of Wisconsin.  Check out additional information on our maternal fetal medicine program on our website.

Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Genetics Program provides genetic counseling and testing to people who may be at risk for certain diseases due to a personal or family history of a genetic condition. Our genetic counselors provide personalized consultation regarding a person’s risk for genetic disease, how genes are linked to disease, how disease is inherited, genetic testing, and options for early disease detection.  As an academic medical center, Froedtert & the Medical College have the expertise to offer comprehensive testing, counseling and referrals to appropriate specialists and services.  In certain cases, interested people may be able to participate in various genetic research trials throughout the country.  Genetic counselors are available to all Ob/Gyn patient populations. Learn more about our comprehensive genetics program here.

Preventative Medicine for Women’s Health      
Physicians and staff in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology care for women with a range of concerns by providing services including but not limited to routine prenatal care, well-woman exams, breast and pelvic exams; abnormal menstrual bleeding; benign tumors of the uterus and ovaries such as fibroids and cysts; abnormal PAP smears; and routine contraceptive management.  The majority of the physicians from the Department of Ob/Gyn have been named to Best Doctors in America.

In addition, many of these healthcare providers have special areas of interest to provide care for women with more complicated gynecologic problems.  Find out more about our services and offerings here.

Caring for Women with Fetal Concerns
The Fetal Concerns Center of Wisconsin is a joint effort between Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. The program offers a full range of care when there is a fetal heath concern in pregnancy.  Caregivers of the Fetal Concerns Center provide diagnosis of birth defects, medical care for the infant, a specially trained nurse to help coordinate care, and, when appropriate, assistance in creating palliative care plans.  Conditions commonly treated for infants in this program include abdominal wall defects, heart defects, genetic disorders, spina bifida, chest lesions, cleft lip and palate, urologic problems, neurologic problems, multiple fetuses and prematurity risk counseling.  Consultation and support throughout the pregnancy, delivery and the baby’s first year are provided.  Learn more about the Fetal Concerns Center of Wisconsin here.

Solving Fertility Issues
The Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Reproductive Medicine Center is one of the few fertility programs in the nation offering complete onsite fertility evaluation and treatment services for men and women.  The physicians are reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialists and urologists specifically trained in female- and male-factor fertility concerns.  Our team works directly with psychiatrists, psychologists, geneticists, genetic counselors and acupuncturists.   

As a team, we discuss the best way to treat each patient’s unique situation.  This means patients get the opinion of not one, but multiple experts who will recommend the safest, most effective and cost-efficient means of having a family.  The Froedtert and Medical College of Wisconsin Reproductive Medicine Center has well established programs that offer financing programs for in vitro fertilization and intrauterine inseminations as well as money back programs for in vitro fertilization and egg donation.  Please visit our website for additional details on our many program offerings.

Treating Women’s Incontinence and Improving Sexual Health
The Women’s Incontinence and Sexual Health (WISH) Program specializes in diagnosing and treating a wide range of pelvic disorders and sexual health issues.  A multidisciplinary team of experienced Medical College Physicians Group specialists understand the personal nature of these conditions, and they provide confidential, compassionate and individualized care.  The expertise of this program’s staff, combined with its scope of services, makes it unique in Wisconsin.  Find out more information about the WISH clinic here.

Transgender Care
The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology holds a clinic twice each month to meet the needs of our transgender patients. We provide services to both male to female as well as female to male transgender patients. Services provided include ongoing gynecology care for those who need it, as well as hormone initiation and maintenance during transition. We are also able to surgically remove the pelvic organs in our female to male transgender patients when medically necessary and appropriate.  Our physicians work closely in collaboration with other specialists who may provide medical or surgical care to these patients.  We feel very strongly that this population receive optimal care in a safe and friendly environment here in our clinic. Please visit our website.

Convenient and Comprehensive Care for Women’s Cancers
MCW doctors who are fellowship-trained in gynecologic oncology, surgical oncology, medical oncology and radiation oncology treat women with breast and gynecologic cancers at the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Clinical Cancer Center. State-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment options, including participation in clinical trials, are offered.   A team of experts follows each patient from screening to diagnosis, treatment and after-care.

Improving the Cancer-Killing Odds with Pioneers of Radiation Technologies
Radiation has been used in the treatment of gynecologic and breast cancer since the early 1900s.  Brachytherapy or implantation of radioactive sources into or near a tumor was one of the first forms of radiation treatment available to these patients.  Currently, brachytherapy is used to treat many gynecologic cancers and select breast cancers.

Some of these brachytherapy techniques were pioneered and developed in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, including breast brachytherapy and CT and MR-guided gynecologic brachytherapy.

MCW physicians have a long history of success in treating women’s cancers, particularly through the use of a combination of external beam irradiation and brachytherapy, which delivers highly tailored doses of radiation to tumors with relative sparing of the nearby healthy organs.  This effective approach applies as well to tumors of the bladder, urethra, rectum and anus where radiation is often combined with surgery and chemotherapy to cure disease and preserve function of important adjacent organs.  In cancers of the cervix and vagina, for example, radiation has been used to cure advanced disease with preservation of the bladder and rectosigmoid.  Surgery for similar stage patients might include the more drastic procedure of removing all organs from the pelvic cavity.  In cancers of the breast, cosmetic preservation has been achieved through use of limited surgery and radiation to the breast, and if appropriate, the regional lymph nodes.  This has provided an excellent alternative to mastectomy, with equivalent survival.

Use of highly sophisticated imaging techniques both for the staging of the cancer as well as for radiation planning and delivery, combined with physician expertise in the field of radiation, have significantly improved outcomes for many women with cancer.  At Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Clinical Cancer Center, there is a priority on interdisciplinary care with input from surgeons, radiation oncologists, medical/ gynecologic oncologists, pathologists, and radiologists.  All of these strategies are pivotal in curing cancer in women while preserving quality of life.

Controlling Osteoporosis:  A Special Concern for Women
The average 50-year-old American woman has a 50% chance of suffering a low trauma fracture in her remaining lifetime, roughly twice the risk for a 50-year-old man.  Low traumas are those caused by a fall from standing height or lesser trauma.  More than two million low trauma fractures occur each year, including 300,000 hip fractures.  Hip fractures are deadlier than heart attacks, strokes, and breast cancer, and about half of those who survive end up losing the ability to live independently. 

MCW's multidisciplinary osteoporosis program addresses the many potential causes of skeletal fragility, including postmenopausal osteoporosis, the most common cause.  The majority of the patients seen at the clinics are women, and the clinics have specialists in endocrinology, rheumatology and internal medicine.  These specialists have clinical expertise in postmenopausal osteoporosis and osteoporosis related to cancer treatments, rheumatic and endocrine diseases, immobility (such as those arising from stroke, spinal cord injury and other neurological disorders), and inflammatory disorders (such as those arising from Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis).

Faculty members in the osteoporosis program hold national leadership posts in physician organizations related to bone health, and have research programs in bone strength, osteoporosis related to breast cancer treatments, and the adverse effects of osteoporosis medications.  The availability of on-site testing and treatment facilities, including physical therapy and exercise instruction, are unique features of the program that provide comfort and convenience for osteoporosis patients.

Improving Health of Unborn At-Risk Children and Their Mothers
Pregnant women in Southeast Wisconsin at high risk of poor birth outcomes are being cared for by MCW physicians in the Department of Family and Community Medicine through the Medicaid-sponsored Obstetric Medical Home Pilot Program.  The program encompasses MCW employed Pre-Natal Care Coordinators working with more than a dozen partner care organizations that provide healthcare professionals for home visits, as well as access to information and services that will reduce the odds of premature birth and infant mortality and increase healthy birth weights in high-risk pregnant women.

Affordable Care for Teen Girls at Downtown Health Center
Medical College of Wisconsin doctors and staff, in collaboration with Children’s Medical Group, provide high-quality, affordable healthcare to teen girls at the Downtown Health Center’s Adolescent Clinic.  The clinic offers primary care and a range of reproductive health services.  There is also a Teen-Tot Clinic at the Downtown Health Center where MCW doctors see teen moms along with their babies during the same clinic visit.  Care for this group of mothers is provided until their 21st birthday.  In addition, adolescent nurse practitioners care for pregnant teens at Custer High School.

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