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New survey confirms need for more menopause education in residency programs

Written by | 16 Aug 2023 | Male & Female Health

Despite the fact that nearly 90 million women in the United States are projected to be postmenopausal by 2060, menopause remains low on the priority list of many residency programs. A new survey reveals the lack of a standardized menopause curriculum and limited access to menopause educational resources for residents. Results of the survey are published online today in Menopause, the journal of The Menopause Society.

Because women today are living longer, it is not surprising that there are a record number of postmenopausal women. And, that number is only expected to grow, with women spending roughly onethird of their lifetimes in menopause. Despite the increased demand for menopause care and education, many obstetrics and gynecology trainees graduate from their residency programs with gaps in their education regarding the management of menopause symptoms and related conditions.

When the last needs assessment was published for menopause education in 2013, it confirmed that most residents felt that they had limited knowledge and needed to learn more about the various areas of menopause medicine, including hormone therapy and bone health and related conditions such as cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome. At the time, only 20.8% of residents stated that their program had a formal menopause curriculum. Based on the results of this newest survey, it appears that the situation has not improved much, with only 31.3% of the obstetrics and gynecology residency program directors who responded reporting they had any type of menopause curriculum as part of their residents’ training. Nearly 20% claimed they had a curriculum confined to a rotation block.

Of the programs with a menopause curriculum, 96.8% used lectures and 77.4% used assigned readings. All programs with a menopause curriculum included five or fewer menopause lectures per year for trainees, with 71.0% reporting two or fewer lectures per year. Of the respondents, 83.8% agreed or strongly agreed that their program needs more menopause educational resources.

Based on the results, researchers concluded that, nationally, most obstetrics and gynecology training programs lack the curriculum necessary to effectively prepare residents to manage menopausal women. Moreover, there is a lack of consistency in the menopause curriculums that do exist such that there is no true level of standardized care.

Survey results are published in the article “Needs assessment of menopause education in United States obstetrics and gynecology residency training programs.”

“This study highlights the ongoing problem of the lack of education of medical trainees in menopause management. An easily accessible, standardized menopause curriculum would benefit trainees across  multiple residency training programs, including obstetrics and gynecology, internal medicine, and family medicine, with the ultimate goal of ensuring that all women have access to competent menopause care,” says Dr. Stephanie Faubion, medical director for The Menopause Society.

For more information about menopause and healthy aging, visit www.menopause.org.

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