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VIDEO: How to start an oncology sexual health clinic



NATIONAL HARBOR, MD– Start small, but anticipate growth. Engage your administration from the start. Be smart about resources, and consider using advanced practice providers to keep costs down. Above all, keep lines of communication open with physicians and other members of the care team.

In a video interview, Joanne Rash, PA-C, a certified physician assistant at the University of Wisconsin–Madison offers these and other tips. She explains her collaborative work with David Kushner, MD, director of the gynecologic oncology program and professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, and a colleague to develop the Women’s Integrative Sexual Health (WISH) program.

WISH is modeled on the University of Chicago’s Program in Integrative Sex and Medicine for Women and Girls with Cancer (PRISM) and participates in the PRISM registry, which studies ways to prevent and treat sexual problems for women and girls with cancer.

“I think what makes the WISH program unique is that we carve time out,” said Ms. Rash. “Of course, we address some of these issues in my gynecologic oncology practice, but, when we do it in WISH, the format is different,” and there’s just more time for discussion.

Communication is key to the model’s success in safe integration of sexual health into cancer care, she said. “We certainly don’t want to do something that compromises cancer care, and so, it’s important that we have those conversations with that woman’s team. And now we get to be a part of that team, which is a real privilege.”

Ms. Rash reported no conflicts of interest.

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