Abstract Presentation: Evaluation of an Online Elective to Expand Education in Women’s Health: Addressing the gap in education about Fertility Awareness Based Methods


Marguerite Duane1,2, MD, MHA, FAAFP.

 1Georgetown University, 2 Fertility Appreciation Collaborative to Teach the Science

With Fertility Awareness Based Methods (FABMs), women learn to chart the signs of the reproductive cycle so they can monitor their health and identify when they may be fertile or not for family planning purposes. Additionally, women can work with FABM trained physicians to receive more targeted diagnosis and management of common gynecologic concerns. However, accurate and complete information about these methods are rarely included in medical curricula, impeding future professionals from using this information to provide more well-rounded health care options to patients.

In 2017, Georgetown University School of Medicine began offering an elective, FABMs for Women’s Health and Family Planning, to educate elective, FABMs for Women’s Health and Family Planning, to educate students about the science supporting FABMs and the evidence for their effectiveness. This class is approved as a two-week, online elective and is open to students across the country. Students self-select the course by registering through the Visiting Student Application Service (VSAS) and/or Fertility Appreciation Collaborative to Teach the Science (FACTS) website. Since the course’s launch in 2017 through the end of 2019, 70 students have completed the elective. This research project is designed to assess students’ background information and change in their knowledge scores.

Upon enrollment, students complete a baseline questionnaire describing their interest in the elective, previous knowledge of FABMs, and their future career goals. Demographic information, such as sex, age, desired specialty, type of medical training program, relationship status, religion, and motivation for enrollment of the course, was collected. Most students were female, pursuing an MD/DO degree, and of single relationship status (average age, 26).

A comparison of students’ pre- and post-course knowledge scores on 20 identical questions was completed to assess the effectiveness of this elective. Pre-course assessment scores (n=70) averaged 12.69 out of 20, 63% (SD=3.23). Post-course assessment scores (n=70) averaged 17.83 out of 20, 89% (SD=1.58). Mean scores increased significantly (5.14 points) upon completion of the course (Wilcoxon signed rank test, p<0.0001). This score increase could be attributed to both the course content and the low pre-course scores. In conclusion, this elective is an effective way to teach students about FABMs. It is our goal to not only educate healthcare professional students about FABMs, but also impress upon them the important role FABMs can play in patient.

Marguerite Daune², MD, MHA, FAAFP.

Dr. Marguerite Duane, a board-certified family physician and Adjunct Associate Professor at Georgetown University, is co-founder and Executive Director of FACTS – the Fertility Appreciation Collaborative to Teach the Science, an organization dedicated to educating healthcare professionals about the science supporting fertility awareness based methods. She also works with Modern Mobile Medicine, a direct primary care house-calls based practice serving patients of all ages in the DC area.

Dr. Duane is trained as a Creighton and FEMM Medical consultant and a TeenSTAR educator.  She has published articles on the effectiveness of fertility awareness based methods for family planning and the use of apps for tracking fertility. She has also developed and delivered multiple presentations on the use of fertility awareness based methods for family planning and women’s health. She has also previously served on the boards of both the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and the FMEC.

Dr. Duane received her M.D. degree with recognition in primary care from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and completed her Family Medicine residency at Lancaster General Hospital in Lancaster, PA. She received a Bachelor of Science with Honors degree and a Master of Health Administration degree from Cornell University. Dr. Duane balances her career as a teacher and Family Physician, with her role as a mother and wife. She is proud to be accompanied on this life’s journey by her husband and fellow family physician, Dr. Kenneth Lin, and they are delighted to be the parents of 4 young children.