Department of
Obstetrics and Gynecology

UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN
SCHOOL OF MEDICINE AND PUBLIC HEALTH
Portrait

Joanne Rash
Physician Assistant
Gynecologic Oncology


Congratulations to UW Health APP Excellence award nominees!

Please help us congratulate the incredible UW Ob-Gyn advanced practice providers who were nominated for 2022 UW Health Advanced Practice Provider Excellence Awards!

Ann Baggot, WHNP, Division of Academic Specialists in Ob-Gyn – nominated for the Excellence in Teaching Award

Angela Sergeant, NP, Division of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery – nominated for the Unsung Hero Award

Joanne Rash, PA-C, Division of Gynecologic Oncology – nominated for Leadership Award

Congratulations! We’re thrilled to see so many UW Ob-Gyn providers represented in the nomination list!


UW Ob-Gyn celebrates National Advanced Practice Provider Week!

​National Advanced Practice Providers Week is September 26-30, 2022! Please join us in learning a little bit more about some of the incredible APPs who support the clinical, educational, and research missions in the UW Department of Ob-Gyn and thanking them for their expertise, excellence, and dedication! 


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Division of Academic Specialists in Ob-Gyn – Certified Nurse Midwives

Hannah Copp, CNM

Why do patients come to see you? In clinic and hospital. for midwifery care

Why did you choose this career? Helping women trust their bodies

Most rewarding part of your job? Helping women through hard times

What do you wish more people knew or understood about your profession? We see women for GYN as well

Cally Christenson, CNM

Anastasia Doherty, CNM

Denise K Fryzelka, PhD, CNM, APNP

Why do patients come to see you? The reasons are varied- some seek all female or queer friendly providers; some seek to have a greater voice and participation in their care and decisions...here to support all of these!

What is the most rewarding part of your job? Listening and educating, advocating, and influencing diverse populations in decisions that affect current and future emotional and physical health

What do you wish more people knew or understood about your profession? Midwifery care and scope of practice encompasses gender and women's health across the life span- not just pregnancy and birth

Cassandra Liss, CNM

Leslie Smith, CNM

Why do patients come to see you? Shared decision making, midwifery model of care

Why did you choose this career? Love for supporting a family by their side during pregnancy/ labor and delivery/ postpartum time periods

Most rewarding part of your job? Positive birth experiences and safe outcomes

What do you wish more people knew or understood about your profession? CNMs practice evidence based care, support all methods of pain management, and that midwifery means “with woman”, the importance of the power of presence

Jodi Wagner, CNM

Why do patients come to see you? Patients come to us because they are seeking midwifery care. They may have had a previous traumatic birth experience and are looking for an alternative

Why did you choose this career? I feel very strongly about providing a model of care for women where they feel listened to and feel like their wishes are respected.

Most rewarding part of your job? Educating and advocating for women and their families. I love educating them throughout the prenatal period and then being with them throughout their labor and birth.

What do you wish more people knew or understood about your profession? Our scope of practice. When many people hear the word midwife, they think we only do home births, they often have no idea that we provide care for women across their life.

Anna Yearous-Algozin, CNM


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Division of Academic Specialists in Ob-Gyn

Ann Baggot, WHNP-BC

Why do patients come to see you? OB patients are shared with MDs; gyn patients are seen/managed by me, they often come via word of mouth, or watching my video bio on UW Health's website

Why did you choose this career? I have always had a passion for women's reproductive health, and enjoy empowering women with knowledge about their bodies and choices in managing their health

Most rewarding part of your job? Empowering women to get/be/stay healthy; providing a safe, comfortable place for women to address awkward, sensitive issues

What do you wish more people knew or understood about your profession? Although NPs have advanced training to evaluate and manage all sorts of reproductive health issues, we also as Registered Nurses first use the biopsychosocial approach (evaluate the issue through the lens of the whole person, not just a medical diagnosis)

Krystal Boardman, NP

Why do patients come to see you? Patients come to see me for gynecology and ob care. I work in the clinics.

Why did you choose this career? I chose this career to help people and make a difference. Sometimes they are small differences, but they can make a big impact on patient's lives.

Most rewarding part of your job? I love working in the clinic as you get to establish relationships. There are many women I have seen for gynecology care and then worked with them for their pregnancies.

What do you wish more people knew or understood about your profession? Nurse practitioners have a lot of training and education. I have worked in women's health for over 20 years. Sometimes patients request only to see a physician. We provide great competent care.

Kira Connolly-Nelson, NP

Why do patients come to see you? Patients come to see me for prenatal and postpartum care, contraception, gynecologic problems, and fertility concerns

Why did you choose this career? I chose this career because I love developing relationships with people and partnering with them to help improve their health

Most rewarding part of your job? I love connecting with patients and developing relationships with them over time

What do you wish more people knew or understood about your profession? Nurse practitioners have advanced degrees and can practice independently

Emelle Holmes-Drammeh, PA

Kristina Krueger, NP

Why do patients come to see you? They have been referred by family members and friends for certain women's health concerns. In a clinic setting with focus on shared decision making and empathy which is key to a successful visit and long term patient relationship

Why did you choose this career? To provide comprehensive compassionate women's healthcare as a Nurse Practitioner

Most rewarding part of your job? Providing care that improves not only physical health of adolescent girls to elder women but also providing emotional and mental support through the lifespan. I often see multigenerational women of the same family. It is gratifying that women trust me to help them with some their most vulnerable health concerns.

What do you wish more people knew or understood about your profession? That APP's provide comprehensive medical care with focus on the entire person

Laura Kwitek, DNP

Allison Ladner, NP

Mindy Rose, NP

Why do patients come to see you? Women seek care for well check ups, contraception, menopausal symptoms, gynecologic concerns, and pregnancy care.

Why did you choose this career? I really enjoy helping patients through the many life stages that are so unique to women.

Most rewarding part of your job? Helping a patient achieve her health goals.

What do you wish more people knew or understood about your profession? It is a very rewarding way to provide health care at a high level that is unique to nursing.

Nicole Shapiro, NP

Jeanmarie Sharp, NP

Why do patients come to see you? To receive quality, comprehensive health care

Why did you choose this career? To help improve the lives of women

What do you wish more people knew or understood about your profession? The skill of listening for better understanding

Shelly Weisheipl, CNM, FNP-C

Why do patients come to see you? OB Triage

Why did you choose this career? Empowering women

Most rewarding part of your job? Education

What do you wish more people knew or understood about your profession? Midwives do more than deliver babies


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Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery

Sari Archer, APNP

Why do patients come to see you? Direct patient care in a clinic setting.

Why did you choose this career? I always wanted to be a nurse and desired more professional responsibility and autonomy in practice

Most rewarding part of your job? Helping women manage conditions that improve their quality of life.

What do you wish more people knew or understood about your profession? APPs oftentimes work as a team and in collaboration with other healthcare providers.

Angie Sergeant, NP

Why do patients come to see you? Patients see me for help with their pelvic floor disorders.

Why did you choose this career? I became a nurse because I liked the idea of helping people. I later realized that I chose the right career as I have the opportunity to change lives everyday.

Most rewarding part of your job? Empowering women to take control over the symptoms that are impacting their every day lives.

What do you wish more people knew or understood about your profession? There is so much we can do for pelvic floor issues!


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Gynecologic Oncology

Melanie Hall, NP

Anne Mayer, PA

Joelle Mulroy-Cluff, PA

Megan Peterson, DNP

Why do patients come to see you? I work with women regarding cancer survivorship and cancer surveillance. I also work to improve the sexual health of women with cancer or who have previously had cancer.

Why did you choose this career? My grandma was a nurse and her stories were always very interesting, which started me thinking about healthcare as a career. Also, my father told me a degree in History wouldn't get me far in life. In college I shadowed a midwife and I realized I wanted to become an APP. I felt Women's Health would be the best fit for me, so know I am a WHNP.

Most rewarding part of your job? Helping women and their families cope with a cancer diagnosis-whether it be initial diagnosis, transition to survivorship, or end of life. I feel as an APP I can provide the anticipatory guidance that patients and families need, even if they don't realize it at the time. When I have finished talking with a family and they say I have answered all the questions they brought in with them to clinic, that is a rewarding day for me.

What do you wish more people knew or understood about your profession? Wisconsin state law does not allow NPs full practice authority which is disappointing considering the large areas of underserved & rural areas in WI. There are a wide variety of certifications NPs can hold: Adult-Gero, Pediatric, Neonatal, Psychiatric Mental Health, Family, Women's Health, Acute Care.

Joanne Rash, PA-C

Why do patients come to see you? Patients see me most commonly for follow up after a gynecologic oncology diagnosis (uterine cancer, ovary cancer, cervix cancer, vulvar cancer, vaginal cancer or gestational trophoblastic disease). I follow women for several years after diagnosis and treatment. You will also find my seeing patients along side the physician team at new patient visits, preop visits and at time of cancer recurrence. At times I also work on the inpatient floor.

Why did you choose this career? Women's health has always been an area of interest of mine. Gynecologic Oncology is a challenging specialty that allows me to provide detailed education to patients at an emotional time. I like that it blends both surgery and medicine. Cancer care is constantly evolving as new therapies are discovered and this excites me.

Most rewarding part of your job? I enjoy walking alone side my patients during their cancer journey. Providing them robust education, so they can understand what is happening to their bodies and how our team is going to treat the cancer, all while supporting her, the patient. I enjoy seeing patient after they completed cancer care and are transitioned into surveillance. In this phase of care, I become a detective looking for clues (labs, exam findings, symptoms) that would make me want to investigate for a possible cancer recurrence. It is a privilege to provide comfort and support, during the end of life phase of cancer care.

What do you wish more people knew or understood about your profession? There are approximately 159,000 PAs in the U.S. We have 2,000 hours of clinical rotations. PA programs are 27 months or 3 academic years, after a bachelor's degree. PAs must pass a certification exam to start to practice medicine. To maintain the certification, PAs must complete 100 hours of continuing medical educations every 2 years and sit for a recertification exam every 10 years.

Jessica Wallis-Bhyravabotla, NP


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Maternal-Fetal Medicine 

Ashley Berka, NP

Why do patients come to see you? High risk OB

Why did you choose this career? I was an MFM patient myself, and truly developed a passion to help others the way I was

Most rewarding part of your job? Seeing new moms with their babies!

What do you wish more people knew or understood about your profession? How specialized and truly high risk it is

Monica Orji, NP

Kelly Pappas, NP


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Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility

Jasmin Barthel, PA

Kiley DeHaven, PA 

Megan Lyght, PA

Why do patients come to see you? Patients come to Generations for infertility evaluation and management. I am generally seeing patients virtually for establish care visits and then in-person for further workup and procedure visits.

Why did you choose this career? I have always gravitated towards the women's health side of medicine and fertility has always been a fascinating field and when the opportunity arose I jumped at it.

Most rewarding part of your job? Getting to help and support patients through a difficult time in their life and hopefully be able to share in their joy when treatment succeeds.

What do you wish more people knew or understood about your profession? While infertility treatment has come a long way, it is still far from perfect and age is a big contributing factor to infertility.


Grand Rounds: Badger Bytes presentations on UW Ob-Gyn and Sexual Health Research

On May 12, 2022, several presenters shared updates on sexual health research and resources in the UW Department of Ob-Gyn during the Badger Bytes Grand Rounds presentation “UW Ob-Gyn and Sexual Health Research”.

The six presentations were:

Sex Therapy: Understanding Its Utility in Improving Patient Outcomes (presented by Madelyn Esposito-Smith, LPC)

Choosing the Right Vaginal Moisturizer and Lubricants for Your Patients (presented by Jon Pennycuff, MD, MSPH)

DaneMAC Mobile Forensic Nurse Exams – University Health Services (presented by Mary Landry, MD)

Cancer and Sexual Health: Clinical Need and Outcome Measures (presented by Joanne Rash, PA-C)

Cancer and Sexual Health: Collaborative Academic Partnership (presented by Janelle Sobecki, MD)

Cancer and Sexual Health: Setting Standards and Generating Evidence (presented by David Kushner, MD)

Watch the whole Badger Bytes presentation here!


UW Ob-Gyn presentations at 2022 Society of Gynecologic Oncology conference

Members of the UW Ob-Gyn Division of Gynecologic Oncology, fellows and residents prepared an impressive slate of posters and presentations for the 2022 Society of Gynecologic Oncology Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer! Take a look at just some of the research brought to the hybrid conference, as well as the variety of service and leadership roles held by members of our department:

Ahmed Al-Niaimi, MD:

Master Class: Optimize and Operate: Enhancing Perioperative Quality, Safety, Experience, and Outcomes

Master Class: Debulk and Deliver: A Virtual Live-Streamed Master Class with Optional Hands-On Cytoreductive Surgery Lab 

Oral Plenary Presentation: Mechanical bowel preparation and post-operative renal dysfunction in patients undergoing cytoreductive surgery for ovarian cancer

Lisa Barroilhet, MD, MS:

Distillation: On-Demand Oral Featured Posters: Novel Therapies, PROs, and Disparities in Care

Special Interest Session: Curriculum for Emerging Clinical Trialists (Dr. Barroilhet is course director for this session)

Vice-Chair of the Patient Education Committee

Katherine Dryer, MD:

Poster: Outpatient palliative care utilization and aggressiveness of end-of-life care in women with gynecologic cancers (authors Kathryn Dryer MD, Janelle Sobecki MD, Michael Lasarev MS, Lena Law BA, Anna Stecher MD, Ellen Hartenbach MD)

Maya Gross, MD, MPH:

Poster: Risk factors associated with distress among postoperative patients in an academic gynecologic oncology practice

Ellen Hartenbach, MD:

Symposium: Wake to Wellness: Beating Burnout Through Better Patient Communication (Hartenbach presented “Mitigating Burnout Through Effective Communication Techniques”)

Palliative Medicine Committee 

Clinical Practice Committee

David Kushner, MD:

Finance Committee

Wellness Committee (Chair)

Developed two “Wake to Wellness” Sessions based on SGO Wellness Curriculum that was just published:

Managing Priorities 

Moving from Surviving to Thriving (Kushner will present as part of this session)

Senior author on Surgical Innovation presentation “Beneath the Surface: Fluorescein mapping in vulvar Paget’s Disease” given by Gyn Onc fellow Catherine Zhang, MD

Joanne Rash, PA:

Attending the SGO Board meeting (virtually), and will start her board term as the first-ever APP representative on the SGO board

Stephen Rose, MD:

Co-Chair of the Fellowship Program Directors Network and will be leading the annual meeting Thursday night. 

Hosting the UW Fellow Alumni Reception Sunday night

Senior author on Connor Wang’s study: Adaptive and maladaptive humor styles are closely associated with burnout and professional fulfillment in members of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology

Shannon Rush, MD:

Poster: Hormone replacement therapy counseling at prophylactic bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy in high risk patients

Janelle Sobecki, MD:

Poster: Risk factors associated with distress among postoperative patients in an academic gynecologic oncology practice (Maya Gross, Sumer Wallace - Senior)

Poster: Outpatient Palliative Care Utilization and Aggressiveness of End-of-Life Care in Women with Gynecologic Cancers (Kathryn Dryer, Ellen Hartenbach – Senior)

Sumer Wallace, MD:

Serves on Policy, Quality, & Outcomes task force for the Health Policy and Socioeconomic committee

Connor Wang, MD:

Poster: Adaptive and maladaptive humor styles are closely associated with burnout and professional fulfillment in members of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology

Catherine Zhang, MD:

Poster: Thromboembolic events in gynecologic cancer patients treated with chemotherapy (authors R. Zhang, MD; T. Stewart, BS; K. Tetreault, MS; R. Alexandridis, PhD; J. Bergsbaken, PharmD;  S. Wallace, MD; D. Kushner, MD;E. Hartenbach, MD)

Farr Nezhat Session Surgical Innovation Session: How Surgical Futurists are Revolutionizing Cancer Care (Zhang presented “Beneath the Surface: Fluorescein mapping in vulvar Paget’s Disease”)

Congratulations to all for these incredible achievements!


Peterson and Rash present at national SGO Allied Health Professionals Meeting

The Society of Gynecologic Oncology hosted the SGO Allied Health Professionals Meeting in October, and two members of the UW Ob-Gyn Division of Gynecologic Oncology presented at the conference!

On October 9, Megan Peterson, NP presented the session “Sexual Health”, focused on sexual health issues that gynecologic oncology patients encounter as a result of treatment and some communication strategies for how to discuss these issues with the patient.

On October 10, Joanne Rash, PA presented on the Special Interest Group panel “Responding to Microaggressions.” The interactive panel discussion covered gender equity and microaggressions in healthcare, defined terms, used case studies and real-life experiences, and provided frameworks for response. The conversation was aimed at helping attendees understand microaggressions and how to respond to them, especially in the workplace.

Incredible work, Megan and Joanne!


WISH Clinic team publishes article in Journal of the Advanced Practitioner in Oncology

A new article co-authored by Joanne Rash, PA-C, Megan Peterson, DNP, Janelle Sobecki, MD, and David Kushner, MD was published in the Journal of the Advanced Practitioner in Oncology!

Development, Implementation, and Patient Perspectives of the Women’s Integrative Sexual Health Program: A Program Designed to Address the Sexual Side Effects of Cancer Treatment” outlines the creation of the UW Carbone Cancer Center’s Women’s Integrative Sexual Health Clinic, which was created in 2013 by Rash and Lori Seabourne, PA-C. The publication also shares results from a patient experience survey:

“When asked how helpful their experience in the WISH program was, 99 of 113 (88%) reported that it was at least somewhat helpful. Seventy-five out of 110 (68%) said their experience in the WISH program improved their overall sexual function. Eighty out of 112 (71%) thought their sexual function would be worse if they had not been seen in the WISH program. Almost all (95%) reported they would recommend the WISH program to other women.”

Read the whole publication here. Congratulations to the WISH team!