In honor of Cervical Cancer Awareness month, I thought it would be beneficial to share these steps. There are several benefits to getting your yearly checkups. Your OBGYN can perform exams that are specifically for women. You want to make sure that you are staying healthy as possible, not only for you but also for your child. If you don't take care of you, who will? THIS IS SERIOUS. Your yearly screenings can help prevent Cervical Cancer, find out if you have any sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and other beneficial information. If you are unfamiliar with Cervical Cancer, one of the leading causes is by the Human Pappilomavirus, also known as HPV. HPV can be detected from your yearly Pap and now there is an actual HPV test. Hasn't technology come a long way?? If you have children age 9 and older (boys and girls), they can get the HPV vaccination. HPV is so popular today that there are claims that every one that is sexually active will have it at some point. If this is your first time hearing of HPV, take some time to do a quick Google search to read more about it and find out whether it's curable. You can also discuss it with your OBGYN or your child's pediatrician. I encourage you to ask questions any time you have the opportunity. It's very important that you become educated about your health and your child's health. I first heard of this when I was a teenager and found out a lot of us are clueless about it since it's not really talked about in the black community. I even had a discussion with a cousin of mine two months ago and she had never heard of it. Her daughter is 12 and I encouraged her to discuss it with her daughter's pediatrician. Most of the times the guys don't know they have HPV. They can give it to the girls but they won't know either, unless the virus is active because it can lie dormant for some time. Today, I will be sharing the steps I used to find the best OBGYN for me when I moved. I have also realized that just because one OBGYN is good for someone else doesn't mean they are good for me. So, choose wisely.
1. Decide whether you want a male or female, or if the sex of the physician actually matters.
2. Decide if you want to have a woman or male of color. I personally feel that women of color are more likely to be able to relate.
3. Ask friends, family, or colleagues for referrals. If you do not have anyone that you trust to get a referral from, start with a Google search.
4. Make a list based upon reviews. Google Sheets are my fav. Yes, I am the one who has a spreadsheet for everything. Pay special attention to wait times and whether the physician was able to make the patient feel like they had a chance to talk, or if they felt rushed during their appointment. I prefer someone who is willing to listen and break things down, if necessary. If you are pregnant, you may want to check and see if the OBGYN delivers at the hospital you are interested in delivering at. You can normally find this information on their website or by simply calling the office and asking.
5. Narrow the list down to the top five.
6. Visit the state's medical board site. To do this, go to google and type in "your state" medical board and the website should appear. You can see if the physician has had any board orders (this shows if he or she has had an legal issues) plus find out where they completed their training, how long it took, and whether they are board certified.
7. Enter the physician's first & last name in the search fields.
8. Review education. Here are some questions I like to ask myself while reviewing the license information. Was there a switch in specialty? If so, was it something extremely off? (Example: General Surgery to Family Medicine) Did the physician get board certified? This means the physician went above and beyond the minimum requirements. Otherwise, a medical degree just means they met the minimum requirements to graduate. How long have they been practicing? I personally prefer someone who has at least five years of experience and no more than 35 years of experience. This means they are usually between the ages of 35 and 60. (If you are wondering how I know this, this is related to my day job and I just want to help others become aware of information that is public.)
9. Narrow the list down some more and contact the physician's office that you are most interested in.
10. Make your appointment!! During my initial appointment, I always like asking the physicians how long they have been in practice and for them to tell me the thing they love most about practicing medicine.
These are steps that I've tried in helping me find a wonderful black female OBGYN when I moved. Have you tried any of these steps? Let me know below and don't hesitate to ask questions if you have them. Also let me know if you try the steps. I won't know if the information is beneficial if you don't tell me :)