Category: MCH Leadership Competencies 3.0: Self: MCH Knowledge Base

Women’s Pelvic Health 101

As women, sometimes it feels like the only time we acknowledge our pelvic region is when we’re talking about having babies. But how much do we really know about our pelvic health; about what is going on “below our belts”?

If you’re like me and many other American women, the answer probably is “not much”. Pelvic health gets a bad rap because it’s at the center of stigmatized topics like elimination (pooping and peeing), sexual health, and reproduction. Stigma makes us uncomfortable and when we’re uncomfortable we tend to avoid whatever it was that made us feel that way. Unfortunately, however, not talking about a critical part of our health leaves us in the dark about our bodies and this lack of knowledge can negatively impact our well-being and prevent us from seeking the support and information we need.

One person who isn’t afraid to talk about women’s pelvic health is Missy Lavender and the wonderful team at the Women’s Health Foundation (WHF). WHF is a non-profit organization committed to improving women’s pelvic health and wellness by driving cutting edge research initiatives, developing and offering community based education and fitness programs, fostering conversation and creating communities for women, serving as a national resource on pelvic wellness issues. Their goal is to turn the conversation of pelvic health from a sisterhood of silence to a sisterhood of strength where women feel connected to their bodies and are empowered to live fuller, richer lives. WHF is Chicago-based but are currently leading the charge nationally on women’s pelvic health and wellness. They host educational events, wrote a pelvic health book for teenage girls (Below Your Belt: How to be Queen of Your Pelvic Region), update an amazing community blog with tons of pelvic health information and news, in addition to countless other efforts and initiatives. Their website is a goldmine for all things pelvic health. After spending a lot of time with the Below Your Belt book and WHF resources, we’ve compiled a list of some pelvic health basics to get you familiar with what’s going on “below your belt”:

  • Our pelvic region includes our pelvic bones, pelvic floor, abdominal and back muscles, and digestive, elimination, and reproductive organs. All of these muscles, bones, and organs are essential for physical and reproductive wellness, sexual satisfaction, and healthy digestion.1
  • Proper peeing behaviors can keep your bladder, vagina, and pelvic floor healthier for longer. Here are some important reminders:
    • Always wipe from front to back to prevent spreading bacteria. 1
    • For optimal elimination (pooping/peeing), it is important to relax your pelvic floor muscles, so when you go to the bathroom, make sure you sit all the way down1
    • Rocking from side to side on your tailbone will help relax your pelvic floor and empty all the urine from your bladder. 1
    • Only go to the bathroom when you really have to go1
    • Always drink plenty of water. 1
  • There are a lot of different things that influence our pooping behavior. Here are some tips to help keep you ‘regular’:
    • Eating fiber helps with healthy digestion. A good rule of thumb for how many grams of fiber to get each day is: 10 grams of fiber + your age = # grams of fiber you should eat per day. 1
    • Squatting or using a Squatty Potty is the optimal position for pooping because the squatting position is known to relax the pelvic floor, therefore requiring less pressure and strain and making elimination easier. 1
    • Body movement = bowel movement1 Increased physical activity is known to increase regularity.
    • Always drink plenty of water1
  • When it comes to feminine hygiene, avoid vagina spray. 1 Your vagina is like a self-cleaning oven, so all you need to keep things clean is some warm water.1

This post only covers a small amount of what pelvic health is, but we hope it sparks your interest in this essential subject. To learn more about the WHF and pelvic health check out the WHF website and community blog.

Website: http://womenshealthfoundation.org

Community Blog: http://womenshealthfoundation.org/category/blog/

If you’re interested in teaching your daughter, sister, cousins, or anyone you love about pelvic health, be sure to check out the Below Your Belt book.

http://womenshealthfoundation.org/below-your-belt/

If you’re interested in the Squatty Potty or purchasing a Squatty Potty, check out their website:

http://www.squattypotty.com/

Written by Michelle Chavdar, Research Assistant and UIC MPH Candidate

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References

1Lavender, M., & Donatelli Ihm, J. (2015). In Elizabeth Wood (Ed.), Below your belt: How to be queen of your pelvic region. Chicago, IL: Women’s Health Foundation.


Poster Presentations: State Health System Analysis

On Thursday, April 30, students from the class on “Health Systems: Services, Programs, and Policies for Women, Children, and Families” (CHSC-511) presented posters on a state health system. The Maternal and Child Health Systems class is taught every spring by Karen VanLandeghem, Adjunct Professor and Senior Program Director at the National Academy for State Health Policy.  FullSizeRender(1) IMG_2985(1) IMG_2984(2)


Practicum Experience 2014: Chicago Department of Public Health

IMG_7584 (4)So far, our time at the Women and Children’s Health Division at the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) has been very translational to what we learned in our first year at the University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health (UIC SPH).  We are conducting a Community Health Needs Assessment for the MCH population in Chicago under the guidance of CDPH Assistant Commissioner, Susan Hossli. To start, we gathered quantitative data in the form of vital statistics; this included infant mortality rates, low birth weight percentages, preterm deliveries, and teenage pregnancy rates for Chicago and the 77 community areas. We used the data to identify 18 community areas that have the poorest outcomes and we designated them as “Hot Spots.” These community areas are located on both the South and West Sides of Chicago.

After we compiled quantitative data for Chicago and the Hot Spots, we created a demographic picture of each neighborhood, which included socioeconomic status, overall health, education attainment, insurance, income, housing, poverty, crime, food access, and educational resources. These topics touched on what we learned in the Determinants of Population Health class, a new introductory class in the pilot core (IPHS 494). We learned that health is not only affected by biological factors, but also where you live, learn, play, work, pray, and age. It is also pivotal to understand that factors affecting health run the entire life course, as well as transcend generations.

Following the quantitative data, we prepared a systems analysis for each community area. The systems assessment analyzes the available resources in one’s neighborhood; this includes, but is not limited to Healthy Start programs, FQHCs, Healthy Families, Better Birth Outcomes, family case management, hospitals, clinics, birthing hospitals, WIC, family planning, behavioral health programs, and dental programs. This process was very informative because we gained a holistic view of the healthcare environment in the Hot Spot community areas.

We took Community Health Assessment (CHSC 431) in Spring 2014, and it was the perfect primer for this practicum. The knowledge, skills and tools we gained in that class proved essential for our success in this practicum. In CHSC 431, we learned the basics of a community health assessment: what it is, how the process works, where to find the appropriate and credible data, how to identify priority issues, how to obtain and analyze qualitative data, and then how to disseminate the information to community groups and key stakeholders. Another useful class prior to this practicum was MCH Delivery Systems: Services, Programs, and Policies (CHSC 511). In this course, we were introduced to the concept of what a health care delivery system is. We learned about the service delivery system for women, infants, children, and children with special health care needs. Our cumulative project over the semester was to synthesize and analyze the MCH delivery system for various states.

For a holistic view on the health status of Women and Children in Chicago, it is necessary to have a mixed-methods approach for data acquisition. Quantitative data is important to provide a snapshot of the health status, but qualitative data provides a full narrative of the gaps in access to a healthy life. We are currently scheduling focus groups on the West and South Sides of Chicago with consumers, service providers, and community based organizations. The focus groups will complete the needs assessment, and then a Strategic Plan for the City of Chicago will be formulated based on the data and gaps in services found in the needs assessment.

This practicum has been a learning opportunity since we have seen our coursework play out in a practical setting. It is exciting to see our work with the needs assessment play such a large role for the Department of Public Health. This project was undertaken with the hopes of influencing future programming and decision making within the city for healthy mothers and babies.

By Joanna Tess and Dan Weiss, UIC MCHP Students

 


Save the Children Event at UIC: Uniting for Maternal and Child Health

The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), Maternal and Child Health Program (MCHP) partnered with Save the Children, UIC’s Global Health Initiative, The University of Chicago’s Global Health Initiative, and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine’s Center for Global Health to host a seminar at UIC on October 14th.  This was part of a three part lecture series where each university hosted an event that addressed various topics related to maternal and child health.

The keynote speaker was Steven Wall, MD, MPH, MSW, Senior Advisor, Save the Children, who discussed a report that was recently released by Save the Children entitled, “Surviving the First Day: State of the World’s Mothers 2013”.

Then the seminar focused on connecting the global to the local, and there were brief presentations by the following stakeholders:

  • Brenda Jones, DHSc, MSN, APN-BC, Deputy Director, Office of Women’s Health, Illinois Department of Public Health
  • Janine Lewis, MPH, Executive Director, EverThrive Illinois
  • Rosemary White Traut, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor, Department of Women, Children and Family Health Science, UIC College of Nursing

The MCHP would like thank all our partners for such a great event!  It was a pleasure working with all of you and we look forward to working with you in the future!

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“We are MCH”: Presentations about Maternal and Child Health

 Learn about the MCH field, our legacy, and the positive impact we have had on the health and well being of women, children and families.

 

The University of South Florida coordinated efforts with the Maternal and Child Health Training Programs to create Prezi presentations entitled “We Are MCH”.  Several MCH training programs (including our program) submitted pictures and quotes that were included in these presentations. The hope is to raise awareness about the field of MCH and the great work that is being done.

 

Click on the following links to view the presentations:
http://prezi.com/rz0qkn_wwzvp/we-are-mch/
http://prezi.com/c7e6u6hpyk2u/we-are-mch-mini-1/
http://prezi.com/wc9jvevjv3nz/we-are-mch-mini-2/
http://prezi.com/kyjdfgl9b17o/we-are-mch-mini-3/

 

 


Want to Know More About MCH?

The students in the University of Washington Maternal and Child Health
(MCH) Program and in other MCH schools of public health training
programs nationwide created a visual narrative of the public health work
and research they are doing in their communities. The presentation was done with the help of Charlotte Noble and the University of South Florida MCH Program.

You can view the presentation here.  If you are interested in engaging in work that improves the health and well-being of women, men, children, and families then you will enjoy this presentation – it may even give you ideas about how you can make a difference!

The stories help illustrate how MCH makes a difference in the lives of
women and children.


Registration Open – July 2012 MCH Leadership and Legacy Retreat

July 22-24, 2012

Hyatt Lodge, Oak Brook, IL

 Leading in Challenging Times: Innovations & Inspiration

Please consider joining us this summer for the 5th annual UIC MCH Leadership, Legacy, and Community Retreat.  This year’s retreat is exciting! Our focus is on Leading in Challenging Times; however, we will not talk about this concept in ways that you may expect. We will begin with sharing personal stories of our journey and work with women, men, children, and families. Dr. Michael Fraser, CEO of the Association for Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP) will lead us in this process. We will continue to connect with one another through a building common ground exercise followed by a thought-provoking discussion about what motivates us!

During the rest of the Retreat, we will explore and practice various leadership concepts including challenging the assumption that these are indeed challenging times. Change is ubiquitous. Everything is always changing and today these changes are happening at an increasingly rapid pace across all aspects of our lives: the economy, the environment, technology, public health, medicine, music, leadership, etc. As we continue to move forward in ever-changing times, what do we know and do in this day and age to support ourselves, each other, the environment, the economy, and the work to which we have devoted our lives?

We will explore a process that will turn our thoughts about leadership upside down. This will be followed with work about managing change as change is a primary leadership challenge we all face. Finally, we will conclude the program with work on the core act of leadership which involves changing the typical conversations in which we engage so that we can ultimately experience the positive outcomes for women, men, children, and families that we all desire!

The leadership training will be facilitated by Dr. Stephen Bogdewic, PhD, Executive Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs & Professional Development at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Many of us have had the honor of working with, learning from, and being inspired by Dr. Bogdewic. He is an innovative, thought leader. He is connected with the human spirit and our core desires to make an impact. He has taken what he teaches and implemented it in practice to help change the face of the Indiana University School of Medicine.  Click on the following link to view the agenda.

*Please note the event starts on Sunday

 

Registration

Professionals: $325 (early registration ends on 07/06/2012) or $425 (late registration)

Students: $150

Click on the following link to register.

 

For more information visit our website.



Training Opportunity for Graduate Students Interested in Children with Developmental Disorders

2012/13 ILLINOIS LEND PROGRAM TRAINING ANNOUNCEMENT

An Opportunity for Future Leaders Serving Children with Developmental Disabilities

The Institute on Disability and Human Development at UIC is excited to announce LEND training opportunities open to graduate students from the core disciplines of:

  • Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Child Psychiatry
  • Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics
  • Disability Studies
  • Family
  • Nursing
  • Nutrition
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Pediatrics
  • Physical Therapy
  • Psychology
  • Public Health
  • Self-Advocate
  • Social Work
  • Special Education
  • Speech Language Pathology

The Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program, sponsored by the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health, prepares future leaders who will serve children with neurodevelopmental and related disabilities (with a focus on autism) and their families.  The LEND Interdisciplinary Training Program is a one-year training program that incorporates both didactic and experiential learning in clinical and community-based settings. A stipend up to $5000 per year will be provided.  Trainees will gain experience in the coordination of culturally competent family-centered care, the provision of public health services, and the implementation of policy systems change.  The didactics take place over 2 semesters starting August 2012 and ending May 2013 with clinical/community training available through June 2013.

Deadline to apply is May 11, 2012.

Family/Self-Advocate trainees are individuals with a developmental disability and/or individuals who have a family member with a developmental disability. A high school diploma or equivalent is a requirement to be considered for the Family/Self-Advocate traineeship.  Priority is given to graduate students in the above disciplines and family/self-advocates; however, recent graduates working in the field may also apply.  In order to receive a stipend, a trainee must be a US citizen or permanent resident.

For more information about the LEND program or to complete an application, please visit the IL LEND website or contact the LEND Project Coordinator:

Leslie Stiles

vlazny@uic.edu

312-996-8905

Leslie Stiles, MS, RD, LDN

IL LEND Project Coordinator

University of Illinois at Chicago

1640 W. Roosevelt Rd. #205A

Chicago, IL 60608

312.996.8905


MCH Seminar–Supporting Parent-Child Relationships: Opportunities for Promoting Future Mental Health

On February 17th Nikki Lively gave a presentation about the potential for the prevention of mental illness in a family system by intervening with mothers of infants who are struggling in this relationship due to postpartum depression or anxiety. The development of the MotherCare Circle, a psychoeducational group translating attachment theory into real lessons for parents to understand and relate to their infant, was discussed in terms of its challenges and rewards.

Nikki Lively, MA, LCSW, is a Clinical Social Worker in the Women’s Mental Health program in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Medical Center. Ms. Lively provides individual, couples, and family therapy specializing in the treatment of mood disorders, particularly mood disturbances within the reproductive cycle and eating disorders.

Click here for the powerpoint presentation and the audio recording of the presentation.

Relevant Links/Resources:

Family Secrets: Beyond Baby Blues

Circle of Security Website

Educational group for Pregnant and Postpartum Women at UIC


MCH Faculty Serve As Editors of New Textbook

Congratulations to all the MCHP faculty members, alumni and students who worked on the recently published textbook “Reducing Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Reproductive and Perinatal Outcomes: The Evidence from Population-Based Interventions”!

Despite the development of numerous programs, initiatives, and approaches to address the delivery of care during the preconceptional, prenatal, and postpartum periods, the major indicators of maternal and infant morbidity and mortality in the US have not uniformly shown marked improvement over the last two decades; most notably, racial/ethnic disparities in key maternal and infant health status measures have remained persistent, and in some cases, even increased.  The focus of this book is to review the evidence base for public health interventions aimed at improving reproductive and perinatal outcomes and the potential of these interventions to reduce disparities in such outcomes between racial/ethnic groups in the United States.

For more information click here.

MCHP faculty, alumni and students who contributed to this book:
MCHP Faculty: Dr. Arden Handler (editor), Dr. Joan Kennelly (editor), Dr. Nadine Peacock (editor), Dr. Noel Chavez, and Dr. Michele Issel

MCHP Alumni:  Beth Pelletteri, MPH,  Anna Wiencrot, MPH,  Jaime Slaughter, PhD, Sarah G. Forrestal, PhD, Patricia Garcia, MPH and Suzanne Carlberg-Racich

MCHP Students: Ashley Dyer and Amanda Bennett, MPH