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Dr. Rachel Pope recaps the 2023 ISSWSH Annual Meeting


“I would have to say the most exciting part of the whole conference was how many medical students and trainees were there,” says Rachel Pope, MD, MPH.

In this video, Rachel Pope, MD, MPH, gives an overview of the 2023 International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health Annual Meeting. Pope is an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology and director of Female Sexual Health at University Hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio.


ISSWSH is one of my favorite meetings. It's just so much fun, and it is multidisciplinary. So many different people take care of or even do research within female sexual health. There were urologists, gynecologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, [and] pelvic floor physical therapists. Getting all of those people together for 1 conference is just a lot of fun. The way the scientific program is set up, you really can hear most of the same lectures and presentations; you don't have to choose between rooms. And you know how sometimes those massive conferences you're kind of picking and choosing, you always feel like you're missing out. I'm a person who gets FOMO big time, so I like the conferences where most of the events can be attended by the whole group. Sue Goldstein, [CCRC, CSE, IF], is the current president, and she's a longtime clinical researcher with years of experience, working out of San Diego. It was really so much fun to have the conference opened up by her. She brings in the biopsychosocial model of women's sexual health. But there was so much new research as well. There were plenary sessions given by radiation oncologists, which was so cool because they were talking about how they are trying to look out for the clitoris and be cognizant of the anatomy. There were researchers from a lab in Rochester, New York, I believe, who are putting out really interesting information about lichen sclerosis, and really understanding parts of the mechanisms of disease and details that we have not understood before. But I would have to say the most exciting part of the whole conference was how many medical students and trainees were there. There were so many. I'm on the membership outreach committee for ISSWSH, and so we hosted a mixer for mentors and mentees. My job as part of that committee was to help people decide where they were going to sit during this mixer. Were they going to go with the clinicians or with the researchers or with the psychologists/therapists or the pelvic floor physical therapists? And it seemed like every person who came in the room said, "I'm a medical student," or, "I'm a resident," and they all wanted to talk to the clinicians and the researchers in the field and it was just so cool. I've never seen that sort of representation at a conference before.

This transcription was edited for clarity.

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