Today was our first meeting together after a short summer break. We continue to make progress in planning our week-long lecture series scheduled for September and in scheduling speakers (and those tasty lunches). We’ve already raised some money and we’re continuing to reach out to supporters throughout Texas for their help. One of the things we’re most looking forward to later this month is our official training in the Billings Ovulation Method. Several of us are planning to attend the training and we’re excited to dive first-hand into learning the specifics of the method and all the research that supports its efficacy both in postponing and achieving pregnancy. Everything is starting to fall into place as we begin the school year and we know there’s much more excitement to come this fall!
Another meeting and more progress. Today we focused especially on fundraising. We know the key to a successful lunch lecture series: a tasty, free lunch! In all seriousness, we do need funds to not only buy lunch for our lecture series but also to put our members through formal training in the methods. While some of our members already have been through training and practice various fertility awareness methods in their marriage, we want to be trained as a group to be the most well-equipped to share this information with others. Eventually, we’d also like to set up funds for students to do an away rotation during their fourth year of medical school with a physician that practices the fertility awareness methods exclusively in their practice. We also have dreams of sending someone through the intensive, two week Fertility Care Practitioner training in Omaha, Nebraska. We have lots of supporters and we’re hopeful to raise money quickly to ensure we meet our goals for our group.
Today we had another productive meeting and we’re continuing to plow forward with our mission. We decided to develop a week-long lunch lecture series during the fall to get the word out about these methods. We spent a lot of the meeting today deciding on speakers and topics. There are so many possibilities and we can’t wait to put together an incredible line-up. Also, we’re excited that this has appeal to a wide audience – of course those students interested in women’s health and OB/Gyn, but also students interested in pediatrics, family medicine and global health, as there are applications across all these specialties and interests. We also talked about the idea of having a couple’s panel to talk about their own personal experiences with the methods. We know a lot of couples who have amazing stories about how these methods have enriched their marriages and also helped identify pathology.
There are several other plans we’re looking forward to – a training session for us to become trained in a method, service events and even a research study at nearby Parkland Hospital to learn about our patients’ desire for education in the methods.
Today we got together for our second meeting. We’ve already accomplished a significant amount in a short period of time – we decided on an official name for our group, we submitted approval to become a registered student organization at UTSW and we sent a survey to the thousands of students at UTSW to see what they had to say about the topic.
The survey results were enlightening and we think they really give this group meaning and purpose. We got over 149 responses. The statistics were interesting – only 63% of medical and allied health students thought fertility awareness methods were scientifically based, and 29% said that these methods COULD be used for a woman with an irregular cycle. We thought these results were the most compelling, however: out of 149 students, only 94 had heard of specific fertility awareness methods. Out of those 94, only 20 students had heard about fertility awareness methods as part of the UTSW medical or allied health school curriculum! We already suspected there was a gap in medical education concerning these methods, but even we underestimated it.
As we go forward, we’re looking forward to developing a plan for fundraising and deciding how to get the information out to the students and eventually the community. We have big plans ahead!
Today we had our first meeting for the Society of Fertility Awareness Education here at UT Southwestern in Dallas, TX. At the last minute, we decided to meet at a couple’s house instead of up at school - sure enough, there happened to be some kind of race going on in the middle of downtown and practically every possible road to their apartment complex was blocked off at the exact time of our meeting! After we finally all gathered there an hour or so late, the symbolism really hit us. We realized that while there may be many obstacles and delays in getting this group off the ground, we can’t give up just because of a few little “road blocks” in our way.
Tonight we discussed lots of information vital to the vision for our group. We talked about the overall goal we want to accomplish – to provide accurate education about fertility awareness methods to medical and allied health students who will eventually be equipped to share this information with the community with knowledge and confidence. We realized the great number of supporters we have in the community and beyond, from physicians to physician assistants to fertility awareness method instructors. We also decided to come up with a survey to send to UTSW students to gauge their interest in and knowledge about fertility awareness methods. We’ll see how it goes!