Gynecologic Teaching Associates (GTAs) come from all walks of life. They are artists, actors, musicians, social workers, teachers, medical professionals, fire eaters, …yes I said fire eaters!..), and everything in between. So, literally, all walks of life. They bring their personalities to the work as well as their dedication and their talent. One such talented GTA has worked with Isle Polonko both while at Rutgers and now at Clinical Practice Resources. She is a talented and dedicated GTA who works almost a hundred sessions every year for numerous universities and institutions in her capacity with CPR as Gynecologic Teaching Associate. And this means that Ms. Howes, quite literally, has taught safe, effective breast and pelvic exams to learners that number in the thousands over the course of these many years.
Aside from Alithea’s talent as a Gynecologic Teaching Associate she is also an extremely talented writer. Her article, “I Get Paid to Have Pelvic Exams So Yours Will Be Better” was published by the online news site, Rewire.News, two years ago. As the work of GTAs and MUTAs (Male Urogenital Teaching Associates) continue to grow and the specialized skills of these extraordinary women and men are utilized more and more in an ever growing variety of specialties, it is critical to remember the roots of this methodology; a method of clinical skills medical education where lay women and men teach a patient empowerment model using their own bodies as primary teaching tools. The results, highlighted in studies as far back as 1977, and in pilot projects as far back as the mid 1960s, indicate a highly effective method of learning that teaches vital clinical skills techniques, patient education and communication, and relaxation techniques, all while reducing learner anxiety. There is no better way to learn these techniques than from a GTA or MUTA and the ripple effects are experienced by learners long after the GTA session is over. Students score better on tests, identify pathology better, and interact better with patients. The results positively affect each and every patient a GTA/MUTA trained medical professional sees, making every exam safer, more comfortable and more empowering.
The spirit of the work is captured beautifully in Ms. Howes’ article,
Click on the link to read the article about the work we do here at CPR and to get an understanding of why these extraordinary women and men do the work they do. Thank you Alithea! You are an important part of CPR and the wonderful work you do is appreciated!