Dr. Austin Cooney working with a group of Saturday Morning Science 2 program students.

The Center for Reproductive Medicine participates in a variety of outreach programs throughout Baylor College of Medicine and the Houston community.

These programs are designed to raise awareness and strengthen the public’s understanding of reproductive health and access to the latest treatments.

Our outreach efforts include, Saturday Morning Science 2 (SMS 2), the Summer Medical and Research Training Program (SMART), Baylor Teen Health Clinic, RESOLVE The National Infertility Association and many others.

See more about each of our reproductive health outreach efforts below:

Saturday Morning Science 2

See highlights from our SMS 2 fall 2015 program.
credit: BCMweb

Working with the Baylor College of Medicine Office of Diversity and Community Outreach, the Center for Reproductive Medicine developed a new Saturday Morning Science 2 (SMS 2) program focused on reproductive medicine for high school students ready for more advanced coursework during the school year.

The CRM hosted over 50 Houston-area high school students during the fall 2015 SMS 2 program. Building upon the students' biology and chemistry curriculums, leading experts in reproductive medicine delivered key morning lectures focusing on advanced reproductive science concepts.

Lecture topics included chromosome defects, gene mutations, testicular germ cell tumors, anabolic steroids, e-cigarette use and many others. Graduate students complemented each lecture with hands-on activities and provided advice on pursuing careers in medicine and science. SMS 2 students also received a special holiday tour of the Michael E. DeBakey Museum and Library. 

Survivors Teaching Students: Saving Women’s Lives

Ovarian cancer survivors, Baylor faculty and Judy’s Mission meet during the Survivors Teaching Students: Saving Women’s Lives first presentation at Baylor College of Medicine in Nov. 2015.

To enhance future health practitioners’ understanding of ovarian cancer and empower them to pursue earlier diagnosis and detection strategies, Judy’s Mission has teamed up with the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance to bring the Survivors Teaching Students: Saving Women’s Lives program to Houston.

This educational program directly connects ovarian cancer survivors to medical, nurse practitioner, physician assistant and nursing students. In the classroom, survivors share their unique stories and deliver crucial messages about the risks and symptoms of this disease.

Through these powerful messages, students gain first-hand knowledge into life with ovarian cancer—from pre-diagnosis to battling and overcoming the disease and the importance of early detection. 

Image (left to right): Survivors: Barb Garvin, LeAnne Strempel, Linda Whitney; Judy’s Mission Education Coordinator: Tracee Seals; Survivor: Kim Podraza; Assistant Professor, Department of OB/GYN at Baylor College of Medicine: Dr. Celestine Tung; Judy’s Mission Executive Director: Aimee Friend

Saturday Morning Science 2 Summer Research Program

"You read about this in textbooks, but it helps when you can actually see and do it in person. I'm having fun and learning so much, that it is a great experience." - Ilyasah Muhammad, 2015 SMS 2 Summer Research Program high school intern

This summer, we were excited to host Harmony School of Advancement student, Ilyasah Muhammad for the 2015 SMS 2 Summer Research Program. Ilyasah interned in Dr. Lamb's Laboratory for Male Reproductive Research and Testing, to gain hands-on experience. She looks forward to taking her summer experience into her advanced sciences courses in the fall, and perhaps pursuing a career as a pediatrician. 

SMART Program

Kailand Thompson, the 2015 SMART Program college intern, mentors in Dr. Carolina Jorgez's lab. 

During the summer our members allow undergraduate students to pursue paid internships through the Summer Medical and Research Training Program (SMART). Students are given reproductive medicine research experience and participate in science lectures that offer them exposure to professional scientific research lab environments. These labs work on important questions related to the reproductive health of patients treated in our clinics. View the SMART Program website for more information. 

Kailand Thompson, a junior from Texas Southern University (TSU) in Houston, joined us as the 2015 SMART Program intern. Under the mentorship of Dr. Carolina Jorgez, Kailand received hands-on research experience in her lab. Her duties involved assisting Dr. Jorgez with collecting data on the EF21 gene and its link to cryptorchidism, setting up PCRs, performing gel extractions, splitting cells, running QPCRs and sectioning tissue. She plans on applying her summer experience to additional research opportunities at TSU and eventually pursuing a career in orthopedics.

Teen Health Clinic

The Center for Reproductive Medicine is an active collaborator with the Teen Health Clinic at Baylor College of Medicine. CRM members provide expert reproductive healthcare and treatment to the young men who visit, along with support and engagement at community health fairs and basketball tournaments, to reach teenagers in their neighborhoods. The CRM supports the Teen Health Clinic’s efforts to provide valuable reproductive health information online and via mobile platforms.

Additionally, the CRM provides support to the Teen Health Clinic in the development of programs such as the Male Empowerment Coalition, Centering Pregnancy Program, and the Te(x)chs Conference. Highlights from these programs are provided below. Visit the Teen Health Clinic website for more information.

Male Empowerment Coalition

CRM member, Peter Butler, introduced services offered by the Baylor Teen Health Clinic to youth. Including educational resources on pregnancy, STD/HIV facts and information and maintaining healthy lifestyles. 

The Baylor Teen Health Clinic’s Male Empowerment Coalition spent a busy fall 2015 season strategizing with nonprofit, civic and community leaders, to provide educational tools, developmental programs and social resources to young males in the Houston-area. Programs included overseeing high school completion, career development and job placement opportunities, building financial and family security, and maintaining overall healthy lifestyles.

On March 5, 2016, the coalition held its annual Health Fair/Fish Fry at Finnigan Community Center and Park. Over 30 vendors gathered to provide local youth and their families with free health screenings, check-ups, and career and family development advice. Resources ranged from what fruits to use in fresh juices, what the best toothbrush is, how to handle income taxes, and where to look for a summer job to how to dress for an interview. To encourage attendees to fully take advantage of the resources offered, a plate of fish fry from Nickel, a local restaurant in the area, was offered after visiting a certain number of booths.

CRM members, Marisol O’Neill, research assistant/graduate student, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and Peter Butler, laboratory tech II, Center for Reproductive Medicine, joined the Health Fair to provide expert urologic advice and sexual health education information to local teens and their families.

Centering Pregnancy Program

This holiday season the CRM team visited Baylor College of Medicine's Teen Health Clinic to make a delivery to expecting families in their Centering Pregnancy Program.

This comprehensive Teen Health Clinic program integrates education, support and health assessment programs for young, pregnant women and their partners. The goal of the program is to provide teens with the tools and information necessary to lay a foundation for a stable family, promote long-term financial security and provide prenatal care and parenting skills in a group setting.

The format integrates prenatal medical checkups with a formal pregnancy and birth curriculum. To build parenting and child development skills, educational workshops are set-up to focus on nutrition, self-care, labor, delivery and newborn care.

7th Annual Emerging Te(x)chs Conference Hosted by Baylor Teen Health Clinic

Teens can easily search for educational materials, resources, clinics and support groups on issues such as STDs/HIV, birth control, parenting and medication adherence. The app is available for download through iTunes and Google Play.

Through interactive presentations and networking sessions Baylor Teen Health Clinic’s annual meeting on May 5, 2015, hosted public health professionals who emphasized the importance of mobile optimization, in empowering teens to take initiative of their overall reproductive health.

“Technology is where the kids are. While the message is incredibly important, it is equally important that we understand the vehicle, the mode of communication,” pointed out Rachel Kachur, M.P.H., health scientist, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Information should be at a teen’s fingertips—finding creative ways to harness social media applications and constructing clear, easily accessible and relevant information, based on mobile location, encourages involvement. To optimize access to healthcare information and services for Houston-area teens, Baylor Teen Health Clinic unveiled their mobile application, Hi52Hlth (High Five to Health), during the conference.

RESOLVE Texas Walk of Hope 2015

RESOLVE's support efforts reach 1.5 million women and men diagnosed with infertility, including 580,000 Texans, annually. 

Sponsored by RESOLVE, The National Infertility Association, the 2015 Texas Walk of Hope kicked-off National Infertility Awareness Week May 19 at Sugar Land Town Square. Now in its third year, Texas had the largest of the 11 walks across the country—with 800 registrants, 18 sponsors, and raising nearly $90,000 in 2015.

“It is truly amazing to see how many people from all walks of life, whether infertility is personal to them or not, join the cause and rally around infertility, a disease that is still rather taboo in this day and age,” stated Angelica Nassar, Texas Walk of Hope Public Relations and Media chair, and Resolve National board member.

Donations made this year helped grow the national Walk of Hope events by adding seven new walk locations, created 23 new support groups and provided training for 25 new RESOLVE ambassadors across the nation. 

For more information, including outreach and volunteer efforts in the Houston-area, visit: resolve.org.

"N.E.D. (No Evidence of Disease)" Puts "Below the Belt" Cancers on Center Stage

Six gynecological cancer surgeons are on a rock n' roll mission to save women's lives. 

Commemorating World Ovarian Cancer Day May 8, 2015 two Houston-based foundations, Judy’s Mission and the Susan Poorman Blackie Ovarian Cancer Foundation, coordinated a screening of N.E.D. (No Evidence of Disease) at the Sundance movie theatre—sharing the film’s powerful message and educating the community on the signs, symptoms, and critical importance of early diagnosis of gynecological cancers. N.E.D. bass player, William “Rusty” Roberton, M.D., professor of gynecologic oncology at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, drove in to Houston to attend the screening, answer questions and sign autographs.

"There's this group of cancers that has been ignored. Hopefully, we can bring some noise to that, so that we're heard--so that our patients are heard." - John Soper, M.D., professor, obstetrics and gynecology, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, N.E.D. Guitarist 

You can see the trailer and find out more at: nedthemovie.com 

A Family of My Own Fertility and Adoption Conference

Drs. Lipshultz and Kovanci educated the community on male infertility and endometriosis at the Nov. 9, 2013 conference.

On Nov. 9, 2013, community health care workers led a one-day educational event, featuring a comprehensive look at fertility and adoption options. Men and women seeking to begin families were provided with information and tools empowering them to make the right decision to fulfill their dreams of becoming a parent.

Dr. Larry Lipshultz, Lester and Sue Smith Chair in Reproductive Medicine, Chief of the Division of Male Reproductive Medicine and Surgery and Professor, Scott Department of Urology at BCM, discussed issues related to male infertility in his talk, “It’s a Guy Thing.”

Additionally, Dr. Ertug Kovanci, Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility at BCM, focused on advanced fertility issues in women during his talk, “Endometriosis—A Painful Reality for Some Women.”

"Girl Talk" Educational Luncheon

Drs. Lamb and Gibbons with Doe Florsheim, President of The Partnership for Baylor College of Medicine, during the Girl Talk luncheon on March 12, 2013. 

Exploring issues related to reproductive health and fertility, Dr. Dolores Lamb, Director of the Center for Reproductive Medicine, along with Dr. William Gibbons, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at BCM, hosted “Girl Talk” as part of The Partnership for Baylor College of Medicine’s Educational Luncheon Series on March 12, 2013.

Drs. Lamb and Gibbons emphasized that reproductive medicine goes beyond just infertility, as it affects both females and males throughout their lifespans. As a leading investigator in men’s health, Dr. Lamb discussed issues associated with male infertility and why men should consider getting evaluated. Emphasizing the importance of protecting one’s fertility, Dr. Gibbons provided tips and actions on leading a healthy lifestyle.

Also addressed was the issue of fertility preservation and the options available to both men and women, should they be faced with the decision of preservation before and after undergoing cancer treatment.

Visit the Momentum Blog for additional details.