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Welcome, Dr. Karen Poehailos!

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Meet the newest member of FEMM’s Telehealth team! Dr. Poehailos is a family medicine MD with experience in reproductive health care and women’s health management. She is a Fellow of the Reproductive Health Research Institute (RHRI).

Tell us a bit about yourself. I’m a native of Baltimore, Maryland. My undergraduate studies were at Towson State University followed by University of Virginia Medical School for my MD degree and then the University of Virginia Family Medicine residency program. I’ve been practicing as a board-certified family physician since—mostly in Virginia, but also for 4 years in Pennsylvania right after training. I became more involved with women’s health after I wanted to align my medical practice with Catholic teachings in the area of reproductive medicine—and then found a treasure trove of things I never learned in my previous training. I’m the mom of four adult sons, I play string bass in a community orchestra, and I love long walks with my dog and baking.

Why did you join FEMM as a medical provider? I realized this was an amazing opportunity to work with women in the area of reproductive health more intensely (as well as some men in cases of infertility/recurrent miscarriage) and also to continue helping other clinicians to learn the FEMM protocols. And it’s also a chance to help with some research.

Why is fertility awareness important? Some of my best interactions talking to women about FEMM have been with college students at the University of Virginia. They are stunned to find out that cycle abnormalities that they were told were a normal part of being a woman are actually abnormalities that can and should be addressed holistically. Many have expressed frustration that nobody ever told them this before. Fertility awareness is important because we can take all that we know about women’s health and the “dance” of hormones and use it to help women concretely.

What’s one thing about women’s health that you wish more people knew? Women have the right to access reproductive health care that helps them truly become healthier and meet their health and family planning goals.

Any success stories from the clinic you’d like to share? One dear to me was a patient whom I had already been seeing for follow-up after a miscarriage. I started evaluating her and when she became pregnant again, I quickly gave her progesterone—but sadly she miscarried again. Then I took the FEMM course. I went back to her with the news that this course suggested more labs to check on her health. Her very abnormal results stunned me, and addressing that as well as an elevated prolactin led to her rainbow baby, and then actually yet another one who was just recently born.

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