Emory gynecologic oncologist Ira Horowitz, MD, is bringing answers to women's most intimate health questions straight to their homes with his outreach education program, From Our Home to Yours.
Dr. Horowitz talks with women about female-specific health issues as well as gynecological cancers. As an oncologist, he discusses topics like ovarian, cervical, uterine and breast cancers. His general topics include menopause, sexually transmitted diseases, sexuality and hormone replacement.
"The best thing about this approach is that women are more uninhibited and feel free to ask questions that they may not ask their physician during an exam," says Dr. Horowitz, Willaford Ransom Leach Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Emory University School of Medicine and a member of the Winship Cancer Institute. "We usually schedule the event for an hour but we always end up going two to three. Even though I come with pre-planned topics to discuss, the open format allows us to focus on the health issues that are important to the women participating in that particular session. "
Harriet Berger agrees. Berger hosted a From Our Home to Yours session in her home for about 30 busy professionals and a few lawyers. The group consisted of women all over the age of 45.
"Dr. Horowitz has a good sense of humor so he makes people comfortable instantly," Berger says. "Once people started asking questions everyone jumped in. Sometimes we got off on tangents that had little to do with oncology, but lots to do with female issues."
The evening began with hors d'oeuvres before the women joined Dr. Horowitz in the family room, Berger says. "It was as warm and inviting for him as it was for the guests. It was just a comfortable place to be."
"The comfortable home setting is beneficial because the patient isn't in a sterile environment like a clinic," Dr. Horowitz says. "From Our Home to Yours really lets women discuss health in an open, supportive environment and have access to a gynecologist when he doesn't have another patient waiting. The face-to-face time women get during an annual exam is 10-15 minutes maximum. But I'm not on the clock or worried about seeing the next patient."
Hormones are always a hot topic. The national Women's Health Initiative study has raised a lot of questions and a lot of the discussion centers around the study, Dr. Horowitz says. Other topics that get peak discussion time are ovarian cancer, and the changes in libido and sexuality associated with aging.
"Even though I'm a man, they look at me first as a physician and a resource. The conversations are candid and we truly discuss everything," Dr. Horowitz emphasizes. "These are women who go to gynecologists around the region and they simply haven't asked their physician any of these questions. Our target audience is the community because all women can benefit. It's truly an effort for community service and awareness, not a way to drum up patients."
From Our House to Yours is sponsored by Emory Healthcare and the Winship Cancer Institute. Women interested in hosting an event in their home can contact Melissa Forster-Green at Emory Healthcare at (404) 778-2987 or Melissa_forster@emoryhealthcare.org.