One of my major roles as a provider is to counsel patients about their health and link them with resources. I also spend a great deal of time educating myself about women’s health, since being a clinician requires lifelong learning — especially evident at the beginning of my career. I have compiled a pretty sweet resources list that I wanted to share, featuring legit, evidence-based sources that I trust.
I’ve arranged it by subject area and include a bit of info about its intended use. Enjoy, and please provide me with feedback — what works, what could be added, what’s maybe not so good.
Holistic Approaches Women’s Preventive Health & Primary Care
From the website: “Bright Futures for Women’s Health and Wellness implements and evaluates culturally competent, evidence-based consumer, provider, and community tools for women across their lifespan. Bright Futures for Women’s Health and Wellness materials help women of all ages achieve better physical, emotional, social, and spiritual health by encouraging healthy practices.” That side Includes resources on physical activity, nutrition, emotional wellness, and maternal wellness.
This is a great handout for patients developed by the Western Australian government’s public health department on sleep hygiene that I use often.
I post this visual aid developed by the Harvard Medical School in my exam rooms, to demonstrate a healthy food plate. It’s improved over the FDA’s food pyramid.
A good complement is this schematic of the Healthy Mind Platter, to demonstrate mental activities essential to mental health promotion.
Say what you will about the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPFT) — their resources are incredibly useful. This source walks you through the organization’s screening, counseling, and preventive medication recommendations.
This government site includes resources for patients and clinicians, including continuing medical education (CME) that midwives, other APNs, and docs might find useful. Topics include: Cancer, Diabetes, Genitourinary Conditions, Gynecology, Heart and Blood Vessel Conditions, Mental Health, Muscle, Bone, and Joint Conditions, & Pregnancy and Childbirth.
I really don’t know much about this organization, but what I’ve seen looks pretty great: Integrative Medicine for the Underserved provides community and resource-sharing for folks interested in this area.
I recently learned about CARDEA by participating in an excellent series of CME events about providing care for transgender clients. They have lots of resources and offer training on a variety of topics you can peruse here. They seem to focus on reproductive health and “wraparound” services.
For STI prevention, treatment, and counseling, the CDC is tops. I have read the CDC’s STD Treatment Guidelines front to back more than once. If you provide any reproductive health services, it’s a must read. This is a library of resources straight from the CDC.
After you’ve done the CDC thing, I encourage you to hang out with the American Sexual Health Association. Their Herpes Resource Center is fantastic, but their overall positive and holistic approach to sexual health shines through everything they do. I’ve not used them, but they have brochures on STIs and other sexual health topics you can order for your clinic that look pretty good. And an intriguing book they recently published: Creating a Sexually Healthy Nation. Yes, please.
The National Chlamydia Coalition is seriously dedicated to our most common bacterial STI, chlamydia!
There isn’t any current medical consensus on the breast self-exam (BSE), but I still teach and encourage it, as it promotes awareness of the woman’s body. Here’s a link to a good teaching tool for the BSE.
I like this handout on kegel (pelvic floor or vaginal) exercises. Yay, vag workouts!
This is a comprehensive guide to female sexual health and wellness that everyone should read! It covers everything and is basically a course on female sexuality. Woot! Thanks again, ARHP!
General Clinical Practice
This Health Literacy Universal Precautions toolkit “offers primary care practices a way to assess their services for health literacy considerations, raise awareness of the entire staff, and work on specific areas.”
Cervical Cytology & Pathology (AKA Pap Stuff)
The medical world hasn’t entirely caught up yet, but the American Society for Colposcopy & Cervical Pathology released its consensus guidelines on pap screening and followup a couple years ago. Hang out at their website to get the backstory and summary of screening and management guidelines.
OK, so this resource for clinics on managing HPV did get some funding from some pharmaceutical giants, but provides guidance on HPV management on a wide variety of issues/from different angles.
Family Planning & Abortion
For contraceptive prescribing, always start with the CDC. Here’s their Selected Practice Recommendations on Contraceptive Use. And don’t forget the Medical Eligibility Criteria.
My favorite new thing from the CDC. Highly recommended reading on providing comprehensive family planning services.
I am a proud member of the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (ARHP)! Here is a page full of their patient fact sheets and patient resources on family planning.
The You Decide Toolkit is also from ARHP and “is designed to help health care providers better understand and speak to the risks and benefits of hormonal contraception.”
The mama of all abortion resources is the National Abortion Federation. Their site can connect you with all the info you could ever want — from medical to political to funding issues.
The Reproductive Health Access Project “seeks to ensure that women and teens at every socioeconomic level can readily obtain birth control and abortion from their own primary care clinician.” Their site has invaluable resources, from contraception info to miscarriage management to tools to help primary pare providers integrate comprehensive reproductive healthcare into their practice.
Backline, Connect & Breathe, and Exhale are all terrific organizations dedicated to providing options counseling and pro-choice, affirming post-abortion counseling.
Bedsider is a pretty hip, patient-centered site for helping people find the right birth control method.
It may not be the best place to work, but Planned Parenthood is still the best and biggest organization nationally providing evidence-based family planning services. Their site has lots of great health info.
The University of Chicago recently unveiled the guide Accessing Abortion in Illinois, which provides a very holistic approach “to help health and social service providers advise pregnant persons who may be seeking abortion care in Illinois.” Rad!
Pre-Conception & Fertility Promotion
CDC at it again — here’s a pretty old but still useful guide on improving preconception care as a public health concern.
Loads of stuff on planning pregnancy. March of Dimes has this stuff on their website on pregnancy planning, but no great stuff you can print (or integrate into your electronic medical record handouts).
I don’t know much about this organization, but Attain Fertility seems to have some good stuff for helping people get pregnant and info on IVF and fertility treatments.
I found this resource list that seems pretty comprehensive, including transgender parenting, same sex parents, and single parenting by choice. Nice!
Before, Between, and Beyond is “the national preconception curriculum and resource guide for clinicians.”
Every Woman California is a public health initiative in that state with resources on preconception heath that may be useful to folks in other areas.
More goodness from the CDC. Links to pre-conception, contraception, pregnancy itself, postpartum, and even basic infertility care and resources.
And from a different government agency (why are there so many?) through US Department of Health & Human Services, there’s this resource, with same topic areas covering pregnancy.
Childbirth Connection has almost 100 year old roots in being a resource for mamas in the US. This site is at a higher literacy level than many of my patients, so I mainly use this for my own reference on pregnancy, prenatal care, labor and birth issues, postpartum, and lactation. Others may find its utility as a direct patient resource. Fantastic, pro-woman, pro-midwifery organization and site.
Mother To Baby has a great collection of patient handouts on medication use in pregnancy that I frequently use. English & Spanish! They will also personally answer your clinical questions about drugs in pregnancy for stuff that’s not on the website. They also have evidence-based fact sheets on illicit drug use in pregnancy, but so far only cover three.
This is a patient worksheet you can use at the 6 week postpartum checkup, brought to you by our friends over at ARHP.
Woah! This app looks pretty cool — for mamas to trace embryonic and fetal development.
Some Sites for Continuing Medical Education
ARHQ sponsors some great, free, evidence-based CME activities on disease prevention and care management that you can find here.
More goodies from ARHP can be found in these Clinical Minute activities on family planning issues. They also have great webinars that may draw from their annual Reproductive Health conference content. As if that wasn’t enough, they also have CORE for additional repro health curricula.
Before, Between, & Beyond has CME on preconception topics.
I often use GoodRx.com to find drug discounts and coupons for uninsured patients. The site can text or email the coupon to the patient. You just have to find out which pharmacy they want to use.
Target and Walmart both have cheap generic medications available. If patient is uninsured, try to prescribe drugs off these lists and explain why you recommend filling the script at those stores.
ARHPedia (sound familiar?) is another source through ARHP: “the comprehensive source for resources on pharmaceutical products,” including coupons/samples/vouchers, patient education, patient assistance, and more.