Marquette Wire

First MED Talk dissects aspects of women’s health

Photo+by+Matthew+Serafin+%2Fmatthew.serafin%40marquette.edu
Photo by Matthew Serafin /matthew.serafin@marquette.edu

Photo by Matthew Serafin /matthew.serafin@marquette.edu

Photo by Matthew Serafin /matthew.serafin@marquette.edu

Maredithe Meyer, Health Reporter

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A panel of medical professionals discussed facets of women’s health and stressed doctor teamwork during the first Marquette MED Talk on Tuesday in the Alumni Memorial Union.

The panelists spoke about topics including pregnancy, women’s mental health, sexual assault and rape.

The American Medical Student Association picked the topics and hosted the talk, an event it hopes to host each semester. The panel included an OB-GYN, physician assistant, physical therapist, psychiatrist and social worker to represent different areas of women’s health.

“Medicine isn’t just doctors, it’s interdisciplinary,” said Sarah Nisivaco, president of Marquette’s AMSA chapter and senior in the College of Health Sciences. “What better way to capture that inner professional care than to have a variety of health care professionals that would represent our topic.”

The event started with an introduction from each panelist about their position and background in women’s health care before the floor was open to audience questions. Throughout the discussion, each professional addressed the importance of teamwork in the medical field.

“As a practitioner, you can’t do everything all day long,” said retired OG-GYN Dr. Brian Bear. “Having the assistance of other people who know what they’re doing and can help you see patients is a wonderful model. Collaborative practice has really taken off.”

Bear encouraged students interested in the OB-GYN practice to adopt a narrow focus, instead of trying to master every aspect of the field.

A major topic of the talk was the challenge of women’s mental health as it relates to their reproductive health. Dr. My Phon Thi Nguyen is an Aurora Healthcare psychiatrist who specializes in depression, anxiety and postpartum care.

“It is hard to get a patient into mental health treatment, especially when they’re pregnant,” she said. “They have to think about not just their health, but their child.”

Dr. Rita Deering, a physical therapist and new mother, has seen postpartum depression in mothers – which occurs the first several weeks after childbirth – worsen or stay the same from six weeks to six months after delivery.

“If (a mother) doesn’t have the scheduled, follow-up care like her baby does, that might be getting missed,” Deering said. “I think we need to do a better job of bringing moms in a little more frequently (postpartum).”

Students questioned the effects of rape and sexual assault on women’s health and asked about ways to treat those issues.

Dr. Lynn O’Brien is a therapist and social worker at the Marquette Counseling Center who treats trauma and sexual assault victims. She spoke about campus rape culture and the impact of assault on women’s health.

“I challenge students any time I can to push against that culture because it hurts us all,” O’Brien said about rape culture. “It hurts women and men.”

Physician’s assistant Dawn Smith spoke at length about women’s need for healthcare education as a public health issue. She said not all patients have full access to services like healthy pregnancy planning. The lack of those services leads to high-risk pregnancies, premature delivery and infant mortality.

She also encouraged sexually active young men and women to receive a chlamydia screening each year or when they engage with a new sexual partner.

The panelists also discussed pelvic floor disorder, menopause, stress, the menstrual cycle and patient-to-provider trust.

Marquette’s AMSA chapter is planning the next MED talk around the topic of surgery. It will be held during the spring semester.

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