Sharing with the Chapter

Article Conference CoverageFrom the International PCOSupport Conference and the Women’s Symposium on Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome - San Diego, CA - May 2000

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Dr. Ron Feinberg:  “Hi, I’m Dr. Ron Feinberg, Chairman of the PCOS Pavilion for  I’m here with Miss Lesa Childers who is one of the Chapter Development Coordinators for the PCOS Association and she’s also part of the Advisory Board for the PCOS Pavilion, and she has graciously agreed to speak to  Lesa, how are you doing today, and how are you enjoying the Conference?”


Lesa Childers:  “I’m suffering from jet lag but doing pretty good.  I’m excited right now.”


Dr. Ron Feinberg:  “Good, if you were to think about all the exciting things presented at the meeting, share with us two or three highlights that you’re going to take home and tell your chapter members back in Ashville, North Carolina about.”


Lesa Childers:  “First, we got to see Barry Sears a few moments ago who we have all heard a lot about, and I’m going to be able to carry back to my chapter lots of information that he gave us, and say I actually met Barry Sears and that he is a real person.  Also, I think I’m going to be able to carry back just the spirit of sisterhood, there are a lot of people here who are dealing with some very similar types of difficulties, and we’ve got lots of different ideas on how to handle those things.  We had a Chapter Development Leadership session last night and got a lot of good tips on how to put together support groups.  I was leading that session, and I learned things so that’s always good news.”


Dr. Ron Feinberg:  “That was an incredible session having had the honor to participate as one of the Medical Advisors for our local chapter and there was a lot of important and useful information that I’ll be able to take back to our chapter leadership as well.  Getting back to the diet issue, I know that that’s a major bugaboo for all of us here at the Association meeting, both men and women.  What’s your take back in North Carolina about diet issues and some of the struggles that women are having and some of the options they’ve pursued to try to help themselves?”


Lesa Childers:  “I find that there is a lot of diet confusion for everyone and not just women with PCOS, but a lot of the women in my group have started using a modified Atkins or Zone-type diet and have had a lot of success with that.  Then there are those people who just simply don’t want to hear about diet and they want to find alternatives.  What I’m finding more and more is that diet is really the key to the reversal of some of the negative effects of PCOS and that has just been confirmed by many of the things that I’ve heard here at this Conference so certainly this just strengthens my resolve to continue to push forth my little mission to make everyone understand that diet is a very important issue for women that suffer from PCOS.”


Dr. Ron Feinberg:  “I would agree with that, and I would add to those points that we’re not sure scientifically which diet plan is absolutely the one that any one particular person should be following.  There’s been a plea made on several occasions by several speakers for good controlled studies to be carried out.  Those studies need to address both diet as well as other lifestyle issues like exercise and stress, and those things play into how various medications might work, whether it be for helping women achieve ovulation induction and pregnancy or even just an insulin lowering type effect.  What are some of the plans that you see ahead, Lesa, for chapter development as part of the PCOSA?”


Lesa Childers:  “I see a lot of growth, in my particular area, there’s been a great deal of growth on the east coast, and I know that that’s the case across the country.  What we’re finding is we have a lot of chapters and e-mail groups across the country; I think there’s one in about every state but I think it’s real important that these folks start binding together and pushing for educational efforts for the medical community and for the PCOS patients at large.  I would like to see in the future certainly more efforts toward getting more physicians involved in PCOS awareness.  It seems that we have a good base now of physicians in every state; there’s at least one or two who are really interested in dealing with this disorder in an intelligent fashion.  So I would like to see more of a partnership between the two - the PCOSA and the physicians to push forward with educational efforts because we do know that there are long-term effects of PCOS that all physicians are seeing in these women.  So I certainly think education is key and that should be a major focus of the groups. I also would like to see more group growth, which means that I’d like to see more people coming to meetings, more motivation for folks to get together, and actually get away from the computer which is a very sedentary type of activity and actually get together and start doing some things, and dedicate some of that unspent energy toward getting the word out.”


Dr. Ron Feinberg:  “That’s great.  In terms of chapter development and regions within the states that you’re responsible for, how do you target certain geographic areas for trying to establish support groups and ultimately chapters?”


Lesa Childers:  “Other chapter development coordinators may do it differently, but my plan is to look for the larger metropolitan areas where there’s more of a concentration of knowledgeable doctors.  You can start there and pull in from satellite places around the area, and you can bring groups together.  This is not always true, but generally you have to have a big city to have a larger population to have the doctors who are knowledgeable.  In my particular case, I have my group meetings in Ashville, North Carolina, and I live an hour away from there.  So it’s going to take some willingness on group participants to travel a little bit.  You’re probably not going to have a group meeting next door if you don’t live in town, so it’s going to take some dedication.  I start where the people are, I do a lot of promotion, and I just go and recruit doctors.  I like to go after doctors and where the patient base is, and I know they have the PCOS patients.  Then if I can ingratiate myself with them, they will spread the word as well about PCOS support, and usually we can get a group going between the two of us working at it.” 


Dr. Ron Feinberg:  “It seems to me that traditionally it’s been endocrinologists that have led the charge in a large part although certainly we’ve had dermatologists here at the meeting.  How do we get other women’s health providers more involved, specifically, the general obstetrician-gynecologist community?”


Lesa Childers:  “I think it takes lots of charm and a willingness to get out there and explain to them why this is an important issue, and why it’s important that the women that they see with PCOS are a well educated group.  I think most of the obstetricians and gynecologists tend to want to deal more with pregnancy but they also have infertility patients who come to them and some come for many years seeking treatments.  These folks could really benefit from, maybe, some good diet education and it could make a world of difference so I think you have to get the doctors to understand that PCOS is more than a fertility problem for one thing, it also has long-term health effects. I would just about bet money that you have cardiologists who are seeing women with PCOS, and obviously dermatologists see women with PCOS probably on a daily basis.  Primary care physicians many times have these women, and they’re treating them for hypertension and for diabetes.  All of these people are just wonderful resources to get the word out so I think it’s just going to take making it clear to them that we are an important group of people and that we are certainly worth making the effort to gain the knowledge needed to treat us appropriately.”


Dr. Ron Feinberg:  “If Lisa doesn’t have anything else to add, I think we’ll conclude the interview here.  I’ve been speaking with Lesa Childers, a Chapter Development Coordinator for the PCOSA.”



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