On Saturday, February 23, more than 80 area doctors, medical students and passionate laypeople gathered at the Hilton DoubleTree Hotel just outside Cleveland, Ohio. The issue at hand was women’s health, but not the way society at large tends to think of it. This conference wasn’t about increasing popular access to contraceptives or abortion.
Quite the opposite.
The buzz surrounded the science of fertility awareness, which has experienced a recent surge of interest from laywomen and medical professionals alike, especially as a healthy and moral alternative to contraceptive means of family planning.
The event, hosted by the Fertility Appreciation Collaborative to Teach the Science (FACTS) and co-sponsored by various organizations, including CCL Northeast Ohio, offered 6.5 CME credits to medical professionals.
The day opened with a general talk covering the in-depth science of fertility awareness and continued with talks by Marquette creator Dr. Richard Fehring and Dr. Jean Golden-Tevald, a Creighton model professional. A panel moderated by CCL teacher Jessica Davidson addressed questions from the audience and included doctors and experienced NFP-practicing couples.
Following lunch the topics explored included fertility apps for mobile devices, the use of fertility as “the 5th vital sign,” specifically identifying PCOS using FABM charts, and the importance of teaching such methods to adolescents.
Longtime CCL teacher Dr. Mike Manhart spoke at the event and was satisfied with the outcome. He pointed out that such undertakings, though small in comparison to other medical events, are well worth it for those who attend.
“This sort of event is critical to raising awareness and credibility of FABMs. Doctors all need CME credits to keep their licenses. There are all kinds of venues to listen to lectures on all sorts of medical topics to get [these credits] but virtually none focused on FABM and approaching women’s fertility as normal and healthy,” he explained. Events like FACTS conferences help close that gap.
The event was planned by CCL teacher Emilee Reinholz, conference coordinator for FACTS, with support from local volunteers, including CCL teacher and panel moderator Jessica Davidson.
“I wanted to help bring this conference to Cleveland,” Davidson explained, “to help change the medical conglomerate to begin recognizing how to genuinely care for women’s health.”
Despite the high population of baptized Catholics living in Cleveland, she says, the area lacks priestly and medical support when it comes to FABMs. As a result, relatively few Catholic couples even understand the Church’s teachings on family planning, much less practice it.
“I also wanted to equip any local Catholic medical professionals with the facts so they can be empowered to offer their patients the best options and respond to uninformed critiques from their colleagues,” she said.
FABM professionals and laypeople are taking note in other cities as well. FACTS conferences are scheduled for this spring in Indianapolis, Indiana, and this fall in Dallas, Texas. Both events will feature more great content from some of the leading fertility specialists, exhibits from local CCL chapters, and much more. Anyone interested in attending can register on the FACTS website or contact FACTS.
— CCL Staff Member