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CHE Fertility call: Integrating Environmental Health Into Clinical Practice

Nov 18, 2011

Prenatal exposures to environmental chemicals have been associated with a wide range of diseases, both in the neonatal period and later in life. Animal and epidemiological studies are discovering links between endocrine disrupting chemicals and infertility.  While research is uncovering the connections between exposures to environmental contaminants and reproductive health problems, health care providers are beginning to incorporate this information into clinical care.

On November 18, 2011 the CHE Fertility Working Group hosted this informative discussion about strategies for incorporating environmental health information into clinical care. Katie Huffling, CNM  reviewed the need for screening patients for environmental exposures, and presented a prenatal environmental screening tool she created for her clients. Sandy Worthington, WHNP-BC, CNM, discussed the Green Choices Project she developed at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Dr. Kirtly Parker Jones presented information on counseling patients about environmental threats to fertility.

Featured speakers included:

Dr. Kirtly Parker Jones
Kirtly Parker JonesDr. Jones is Professor and Vice Chair for Educational Affairs at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology where she has had an academic appointment for the past 24 years. She has been a member of the National Medical Committee for Planned Parenthood and is past Chair of the Association of Reproductive Professionals. She teaches Ethics in Reproductive Medicine in the Honors Program at the University of Utah, as well as teaching reproductive medicine to medical students, residents and physicians. She has participated in a number of research projects and is the author or coauthor of numerous journal articles on gynecological topics and fertility. In addition, Dr. Jones maintains a clinical practice at the Utah Center for Reproductive Medicine. 

Katie Huffling, RN, CNM, MS
Katie HufflingMs. Huffling is a Certified Nurse-Midwife and the Program Coordinator for the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments at the University of Maryland School of Nursing. She has authored of a number of peer-reviewed articles on environmental health issues as they relate to pregnancy.  She has also created an assessment tool that can be used by clinicians to assess for environmental exposures of pregnant women and prompts the clinician to provide anticipatory guidance. In addition, Ms. Huffling is involved in a project that integrates electronic media such as videos, podcasts, and smart phone applications into an online resource called EnviRN.

Sandy Worthington MSN, WHNP-BC, CNM
Sandy WorthingtonMs. Worthington is a Women's Health Nurse Practitioner, Certified Nurse-Midwife, and the Director of Medical Continuing Education and Special Projects in the Medical Division of the national office of Planned Parenthood.  In her role as Director, she provided oversight for the Green Choices Project, an initiative to educate clients and staff on toxic chemicals in the environment that are adversely affecting reproductive health.  The Green Choices Project includes materials designed to provide clients with strategies for reducing exposures to environmental toxicants.

The call was moderated by Karin Russ, National Coordinator for the Fertility and Reproductive Health Working Group.


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