Women’s Health Teaching Group
The Women’s Health Teaching Group was developed out of the YWCA Women’s Center by Connie Winstead, Margie Sved, and other women as a sub-group of the Women’s Health Cooperative. Together, these women went into medical schools and taught, by example, how to give respectful and comfortable pelvic exams.
Connie Winstead talks about why the Women’s Health Teaching Group was important.
[audio:http://sites.duke.edu/docst110s_01_s2011_bec15/files/2011/04/Connie-Winstead-Womens-Teaching-Group.mp3|titles=Connie Winstead - Women's Health Teaching Group]
“There was that whole thing of trying to, I think, legitimize what we were doing by taking our views and our values about women’s health into the medical center and to the medical school.” ~Connie Winstead [13:02-13:13]
Meri-Li Douglas says that the Women’s Health Teaching Group wanted medical students to know that there was more to pelvic exams than the physical exam.
[audio:http://sites.duke.edu/docst110s_01_s2011_bec15/files/2011/04/Meri-Li-Douglas-Womens-Health-Teaching-Group1.mp3|titles=Meri-Li Douglas - Women's Health Teaching Group]
“I think I met Margie when we were doing women’s health with medical students…Pelvic exams…we were like patients…how would you call us, we were…exam models..for the patients…but what we were trying to get the students to learn was something more than the physical aspects of exams but interacting with patients. What was that group called…Women’s Health Teaching Group, that’s what it was, yeah.” [Meri-Li Douglas 0:34-1:17]
Margie Sved talks about being in medical school at the same time that she was teaching her peers how to give pelvic exams and what it was like to be an exam “model.”
[audio:http://sites.duke.edu/docst110s_01_s2011_bec15/files/2011/04/Margie-Sved-Pelvic-Exams.mp3|titles=Margie Sved - Pelvic Exams]
“You know, when we started women’s health teaching group, that’s clearly a whole different history, but that was to teach, initially to teach sensitive pelvics to health practitioners. And I know I then put a lot of my energy into women’s health teaching group. And continued that all through medical school…I just got so used to it [the pelvic exams]. I just really felt that it was such a necessary part of training…They wouldn’t let me do it with my own class at UNC, but I could do…younger classes at UNC and then Duke…It clearly was a select group of us. There were plenty of women who were willing to be members of Women’s Health Cooperative but that were not interested in doing teaching group. And there were some who were much more comfortable being the stand up teacher rather than the model. But I remember just being very committed to that being a necessary piece of training that it was fine.” [Margie Sved 52:03-53:21]
Connie Winstead discusses working with the physician’s assistant program to teach them how to give good pelvic exams as a part of the Women’s Health Teaching Group
“We worked with the PA program first because the director of the PA program was much more liberal and radical and his wife was really really involved in the women’s health stuff, she was one of the counselors at Women’s Pavillion and so we were able to actually, you know, get our foot in the door, which I felt like was really critical, starting with these PA students trying to teach them how to be sentitive to women’s issues doing pelvic exams, I thought was just amazing I look back on it and I’m thinking ‘I can’t believe I did that, I let these students do pelvic exams on me while I was talking to them about how they could do it better…and what they should be thinking about!’ So that was another sub-group. There were, I think a lot of different efforts going on and I probably don’t remember all of them but there was a very active group that were both volunteering and trying to work more within the system.” [Connie Winstead 13:14-14:10]