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Interdisciplinary Development of a Preconception Health Curriculum for Four Medical Specialties

Freda, Margaret Comerford EdD, RN; Chazotte, Cynthia MD; Bernstein, Peter MD; Harrison, Ellen MD

Current Commentary

A group of obstetricians and gynecologists, along with physicians from three other medical specialties, nurses, and midwives, developed a curriculum on preconception health care for women. This curriculum was specifically aimed at residents in obstetrics and gynecology, internal medicine, pediatrics, and family medicine. The curriculum was designed to convince these physicians that they needed to participate in promotion of preconception health for many reasons, such as the need to teach women to take folic acid daily because it significantly decreases the incidence of neural tube defects. Because over 50% of all pregnancies are unplanned, it is imperative that all physicians think of themselves as preconception health providers. Our group then taught the curriculum to medical students, residents, fellows, and attending physicians in all specialties at four hospitals affiliated with the medical college. Evaluation of the curriculum in 171 physicians who participated revealed that only a small percentage of physicians took folic acid daily themselves. Almost 36% of the obstetricians did not currently provide preconception care for their patients. Most physicians in all specialties believed that the curriculum provided them with useful information for their practice. The March of Dimes is currently distributing this curriculum on its Web site.

A multidisciplinary group collaborated to develop a cohesive preconception health curriculum for physicians in four medical specialties.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Women's Health, and Department of Internal Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, New York

Address reprint requests to: Margaret Comerford Freda, EdD, RN, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center, 1695 Eastchester Road, Suite 301, Bronx, NY 10461; E-mail: margaretfreda@yahoo.com.

This program was supported by a grant from the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, Greater New York Chapter.

Received June 21, 2001. Received in revised form September 17, 2001. Accepted October 18, 2001.

© 2002 by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.