UW OB GYN Proud Sponsor of the Madison Mini Marathon
Charity Partner of the Madison Mini Marathon
Getting to know the Charity Partner

The Department is very excited to be back with the Mini as the charity partner for the sixth year. Our mission is to improve the quality of life for the women of the state of Wisconsin. We value your participation in this event in helping us achieve our clinical, research and educational goals. We would like to take this opportunity to share more about our department.

Get to know us:

Family Affair Project

A healthy lifestyle begins in the home. That simple fact is why the our department teamed up with the American Heart Association and the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County to teach local youth and their families the importance of eating right and exercising.

"Healthy babies become healthy toddlers, healthy toddlers become healthy children," is the motto used by Community Outreach Coordinator Lucretia Sullivan-Wade who worked to bring the Family Affair Program to the community.

During the Family Affair event, 33 youths and their families participated in many different sessions that taught them hands-on how to live with an intention of being healthier.

The program was held at the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County and sought to increase physical activity of children, combat childhood obesity, and increase awareness of healthy food choices. Another goal was to increase awareness of heart disease facts and risk factors, especially for women.

Of great assistance in getting the message across was the incorporation of the National Football League's Play 60 Challenge. Materials were handed out to the children with encouragement to share what they learned with other children, their families, and their schools. To jumpstart the idea of physical fitness, the program began with a session that focused on teaching the children ways to increase their physical activity.

The program also provided healthy snacks for the children, which included bottled water and a variety of fruit. A registered dietitian handed out healthy recipes and taught the children how to read food nutrition labels.

Before the program, 90 percent of the children said they had one serving of fruit daily and 60 percent had one serving of vegetables daily. After the program, 60 percent of the children indicated that they now intended to have five servings of fruit per day. Also, prior to the program, only 50 percent of the children indicated that they "maybe" could identify a healthy snack. After the program, 100 percent said "yes" they could identify a healthy snack.

Your support of the Department of Ob-Gyn through the Madison Mini-Marathon provides the resources necessary to continue to make educational community programs like the "Family Affair Project" possible and promotes the "Healthy Women, Healthy Babies" mission of the department.

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The Hair Study

Hair Study

UW researcher Dr. David Abbott, a tenured faculty member in the Department of Ob-Gyn and the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center (WNPRC), took a major "baby" step in 2010, translating more than 20 years of research into a study on human baby hair. Dr. Abbott began collecting hair samples from newborns at Meriter Hospital, analyzing the hair to study in utero testosterone levels. Abbott hopes to develop a biomarker for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition affecting 10 percent of women causing fertility issues, high-risk pregnancies, and adult-onset metabolic issues including obesity and type-2 diabetes.

The "hair study," as Abbott playfully calls it, has "tremendous potential" for treating PCOS and its effects. Using high testosterone exposure in utero as a biomarker, "we can develop a pediatric profile for these at-risk individuals," Abbott explains. This profile could lead to treatments, including lifestyle interventions to prevent metabolic issues, that would reduce the expression of PCOS in those affected. "We already know, for example," Abbott says, "that if we can help obese women with PCOS lose weight, their symptoms of PCOS are much less severe."

Dr. Abbott's "hair study" recruited its first patients at Meriter Hospital and began taking samples in 2009. A few days after birth, a small clip of hair is taken from the newborn baby. To celebrate their contribution to this study, the mothers receive a commemorative plaque displaying a tuft of their child's hair. "It's a nice touch," Abbott says, "and the response has been wonderful."

Abbott describes this project as a shining example of collaboration across the UW, a basic scientist/clinician matchup, with Abbott and his lab staff providing the scientific guidance for the study and Dr. Dinesh Shah, MD, and his clinical staff connecting with patients at Meriter. "This wouldn't be possible," stresses Abbott, "without the contributions of each of these parties."

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Patient Outreach

Patient Outreach

As part of our fundamental mission, the Department strives to improve the lives of women across the state of Wisconsin through collaboration with physicians and caregivers. Often this means reaching out to provide care for patients close to their homes.

Denice Krofta of Tomah, WI is a proud example of the positive outcomes of this collaborative care. After being diagnosed with endometrial cancer, Denice was referred to Gundersen Lutheran Hospital in nearby La Crosse for a hysterectomy.

Dr. Ellen Hartenbach, Vice Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UW, collaborated with Dr. Dana Benden, Denice's Ob-Gyn physician at Gundersen Lutheran. Dr. Hartenbach then came to Gundersen Lutheran to assist Dr. Benden on the surgery.

Denice met Dr. Hartenbach shortly before her surgery, and remembers feeling grateful. "She came all the way from Madison," recalls Denice, "It was wonderful."

Fortunately, tests indicated that the cancer had not spread, but Drs. Hartenbach and Benden and Dr. Patrick Conway, Denice's radiation oncologist, began creating a treatment plan to ensure Denice would remain cancer-free.

Denice received pelvic radiation therapy over the next six weeks. "They wanted to treat aggressively," says Denice, but the focused radiation reduced the negative impacts on the rest of Denice's body.

Since completing radiation, Denice has shown no signs of cancer. "Things have been good ever since," Denice says.

Denise is approaching the five-year anniversary of her treatment, which will make her officially ‘cancer-free.' As she thinks back on her experience with her trademark positivity she says "It's just wonderful."

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Medical Education and Training

Medical Education

The Department offers several hands-on training programs for its medical students, residents and fellows. These programs allow learners to apply their training in a supervised setting, and obtain direct feedback to enhance their training.

Medical students in their first and second years at the UW School of Medicine & Public Health (UWSMPH) participate in the Patient, Doctor and Society (PDS) program. This integrated curriculum is an opportunity for medical students to gain ‘hands-on’ learning, as they practice medical interviewing and general physical examination using standardized patients. Medical students also participate in small group discussions on medical ethics, and are required to make several oral case presentations.

At the end of their third year, medical students at UWSMPH take the Year-End Professional Skills Assessment (YEPSA). Medical students are observed and assessed by Ob-Gyn faculty during 15 minutes with a standardized patient. YEPSA pushes medical students to achieve a high level of primary care proficiency before entering their fourth year.

Redefining ‘hands-on learning,’ the Department’s Women and Infants’ Simulation and Education Lab, located at Meriter Hospital, continues to add new curricula to its high-tech surgical simulation program. Cutting edge simulation equipment uses video and 3D animation, as well as computerized scoring, to provide an invaluable surgical simulation experience to medical students, residents and faculty in the Department of Ob-Gyn. Medical students practice infant delivery and the basic skills of suturing and knot-tying, while residents and faculty use the Sim Lab to practice and perfect complex obstetrical emergency surgeries and laparoscopic procedures. "The time that we spend in the simulation lab builds our confidence in our skills and makes us more knowledgeable about procedures so that when we are dealing with a real, live patient we have already practiced our skills. The simulation lab is a wonderful tool for the residents," 2012 Alumni resident Christine Trautman said.

Moving toward a goal of interdisciplinary simulation exercises in real-time, the last year saw the Sim Lab expand to include training for several specialties. Pediatric residents practice neonatal resuscitation; while UW nurses and anesthesiologists at Meriter Hospital have collaborated with the Department in training for obstetric emergency procedures.

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Thank you for your support!

Your support of our Department through the Madison Mini-Marathon provides the resources necessary to continue to make educational community programs like the "Annual Blanket and Diaper Drive", "Family Affair Project" possible and promotes the "Healthy Women, Healthy Babies" mission of the department


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