More Top Doctors recognized than any other Atlanta health system

Nearly half of the physicians recognized in the annual “Top Doctors” issue of Atlanta magazine are physicians who are part of Emory Healthcare, EmoryHealthcare Network, Emory medical staff, or faculty of Emory University School of Medicine. We honor, celebrate, and thank all of our Emory Top Doctors and their care teams, for continuing to rise to the call every day.

Our community has always depended on Emory Healthcare to deliver high-quality care and patient safety. Even within a pandemic, our doctors continue to take extraordinary steps in making patients and family-centered care their highest priority.

“Even through challenging times where much of the focus has been on caring for patients with COVID-19, we are pleased to have so many physicians across multiple specialties represented in the 2020 ‘Top Doctors’ list,” says Jonathan S. Lewin, MD, President, and CEO of Emory Healthcare. “These physicians are selected by their peers and highly regarded in their area of focus. It reminds us that even during difficult times, our physicians continue to rise to the occasion to provide excellent care to our patients and families every day.”

Click the image below for the full Atlanta Magazine Top Doctors digital issue.

Feel Safe Getting the Care You Need

There’s no need to wait, find and visit one of our providers, in person, or online through Emory Connected Care. If you need to visit us in person, extraordinary safety measures are in place to protect you, your family, and our staff – including separate treatment areas for patients with COVID-19.

Find a provider or call our HealthConnection nurses at 404-778-7777.

Emory Healthcare
With more than 24,000 employees and 11 hospitals, Emory Healthcare is the most comprehensive academic health system in Georgia, with $4.4 billion in annual net revenue. System-wide, it has 2,691 licensed patient beds, more than 2,800 physicians practicing in more than 70 specialties, serving metro Atlanta with 250 locations. It also provides services to greater Georgia through a joint venture at St. Francis – Emory Healthcare Hospital in Columbus, ten regional affiliate hospitals, and its clinically integrated physician network.

Atlanta Magazine
Castle Connolly Medical Ltd., was acquired by Everyday Health Group (EHG), one of the world’s most prominent digital healthcare companies, in late 2018. Everyday Health Group (EHG), a recognized leader in patient and provider education, attracts an engaged audience of over 53 million health consumers and over 780,000 U.S. practicing physicians and clinicians to its premier health and wellness websites. EHG combines social listening data and analytics expertise to deliver highly personalized healthcare consumer content and effective patient engagement solutions. EHG’s vision is to drive better clinical and health outcomes through decision-making informed by highly relevant data and analytics. Healthcare professionals and consumers are empowered with trusted content and services through the Everyday Health Group’s flagship brands including Everyday Health®, What to Expect®, MedPage Today®, Health eCareers®, PRIME® Education and our exclusive partnership with MayoClinic.org® and The Mayo Clinic Diet.® Everyday Health Group is a division of J2 Global Inc. (NASDAQ: JCOM) and is headquartered in New York City.

Public Notice: Magnet Recognition Program – Site Visit



emory johns creek hospital magnet visitEmory Johns Creek Hospital has applied to the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) for the prestigious designation of Magnet. Magnet designation recognizes excellence in nursing services.

Patients, family members, staff, and interested parties who would like to provide comments are encouraged to do so. Anyone may send comments via e-mail and direct mail.

Your comments must be received by the Magnet Program Office by January 12, 2020.

NOTE: All comments are CONFIDENTIAL and are not shared with the health care organization. Comments may be anonymous, but they must be sent in writing to the Magnet Program Office.

8515 Georgia Ave., Suite 400
Silver Spring, MD 20910-3492

E-Mail: magnet@ana.org

Emory University Hospital’s Asbury Café is Fighting Food Waste with Second Helpings

Second Helpings Atlanta logoThe Food and Nutrition Services team at Emory University Hospital’s Asbury Café diligently works behind the scenes after the daily breakfast rush to package and freeze leftover food items. All this extra work is for a good cause. Unused pans of high-protein items, such as eggs, bacon and sausage, are donated to Second Helpings Atlanta, a nonprofit food rescue organization whose mission is to reduce hunger and food waste in metro Atlanta.

Every Thursday, volunteers from Second Helpings Atlanta pick up pounds of frozen breakfast leftovers from Asbury Café and deliver the food to the Good Samaritan Health Center, which serves hot meals to the homeless. “We have been partnering with Second Helpings Atlanta for almost two years now,” says Emory University Hospital Executive Chef Mike Bacha. “On average, we donate 300 pounds of breakfast leftovers per month to Second Helpings.”

In 2018, Asbury Café donated 2,755 pounds of rescued food items to Second Helpings Atlanta. Through these donations, Second Helpings Atlanta was able to stream valuable food into the metro Atlanta community to feed individuals and families who face the challenges of poverty and food insecurity.

“I give credit to the cooks and café attendants who spend valuable time and effort packaging and freezing leftover breakfast items. Without their dedication, we wouldn’t be able to contribute to this great cause,” says Bacha.

Emory Healthcare would like to give a big shoutout to the following staff at Asbury Café for demonstrating Emory Healthcare service and their commitment to transforming healthcare in our community.

  • Charles Richardson, chef
  • Moses Quarterman, sous chef
  • Anthony Batchelor, cook
  • Jackie Tutt, food & nutrition associate
  • Jackie Fletcher, food services attendant II

If your Food and Nutrition Services team is interested in partnering with Second Helpings Atlanta, please reach out to Mike Bacha at michael.bacha@emoryhealthcare.org.

More About Second Helpings Atlanta

Since 2004, Second Helpings Atlanta’s community of volunteers have been picking up surplus nutritious, perishable and frozen prepared food from grocery stores, big box retailers, corporate dining halls, hospitals, and large events, and delivering it to more than 50 front-line agencies in metro Atlanta that feed the hungry every day. The food they rescue gets diverted from landfills and is used to feed those in need. To learn more, visit secondhelpingsatlanta.org.

More About Good Samaritan Health Center

The Good Samaritan Health Center works to remove the barriers preventing low-income families and individuals from obtaining access to quality health care in metro Atlanta by providing medical, dental, health education, mental health, and social services. To learn more, visit goodsamatlanta.org.

Nurses Choose Emory Healthcare for Personal and Professional Growth

dr sharon pappas with nursing groupLeaders at Emory Healthcare (EHC) share a common goal of providing a world class environment where nurses can thrive and patients can heal. It is this level of commitment that creates an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust, where leaders listen to and value the contributions of nurses.

Chief Nursing Executive Sharon Pappas, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, leads with gratitude and deep appreciation for the nurses who serve at EHC.

“For us, it’s important to let nurses know how valuable they are, and we are serious about hiring nurses who appreciate this culture,” said Dr. Pappas. “Here at Emory Healthcare, we practice patient- and family-centered care where nurses are an active member of the care team.”

This collaborative environment is critical to patient care. Nurses and other members of the care team can make the best, most well-informed decisions with this approach. It is equally critical that we support nurses who are at the bedside every day helping patients heal.

“To me, working at Emory means an opportunity to build and foster nursing excellence. An opportunity to serve patients, families and colleagues and to make a positive difference,” said Jan W., MSN RN in Nursing Education.

Even though Emory Healthcare is a large system — with 60 urgent care and retail clinics and 11 hospitals (including three Magnet®-designated hospitals: Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital, Emory University Hospital and Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital) — nurses are leaders and receive the support, resources and growth opportunities they deserve.

Improving Patient Outcomes

“I like working for Emory because patients receive the very best care academic medicine has to offer. We have the best health care providers in the world,” said Tracey P., APRN in Interventional Radiology.

At EHC, patients receive compassionate and high-quality care in a safe environment. Nurses are the Emory difference, and when it comes to serving patients and families, they provide a true healing experience. They tend to spend more time with patients and often understand their subtle nuances and unique needs.

Dr. Pappas recalls a conversation she had with a nurse recently. “I had the best day!” the nurse exclaimed. Dr. Pappas asked what made her day great and the nurse delightedly said that the provider listened to and followed her recommendation and they worked as a team to get the best patient outcome. This experience is not isolated, but it is reflective of the culture at Emory Healthcare.

EHC’s low nurse turnover rate also improves patient outcomes. When nurses and other members of the care team work consistently together, patients’ lives are better for it. Dr. Pappas warmly remembers a familiar saying when she thinks of a nurse’s role in healthcare: “The doctor saved me, and the nurse made me well.”

Advancing Nursing Science

As the region’s most comprehensive academic health system, nurses at EHC can participate in learning opportunities, patient improvement projects and collaborate to ensure patients get the best possible care.

“I like working for Emory because this is an organization that fosters the professional practice of nursing, supports staff and focuses on clinical excellence!” says Curlissa M., RN, Magnet Program Director.

By actively pursuing new challenges and making discoveries, nurses are at the cutting edge of providing clinical quality and patient safety. At EHC, nurses work with others to solve complex problems, influence change and transform healthcare.

Career Advancement and Growth Opportunities

On day one, whether you are a new or seasoned nurse, the opportunity for growth begins. Nurses throughout the EHC system work in rich environments, where learning and professional growth are encouraged. Nurses have access to advancement from within the organization, continuing education classes, career path planning, tuition reimbursement, peer mentorship, and awards and recognition programs. EHC encourages nurses to get clinical certification, join professional organizations and bring their voices to the table.

“I like working at Emory Healthcare because they offer the tools, guidance and support to develop skilled leaders. This support boosted my confidence as a person and a nurse. I was able to obtain my degree and now work in a leadership position,” said Robin S., BSN RN in the Department of Radiology.

Nurses also enjoy the bonds they create with colleagues, patients and families. These connections enrich the personal experiences nurses have at EHC.

“The relationships and quality of nursing is what keeps me here,” said Emily B., RN in Bone Marrow Transplant.

“We are thrilled to know, when nurses come here, they stay here,” said Dr. Pappas.

In hospitals and clinics throughout the state of Georgia, one thing is for certain: EHC nurses are making a real difference in improving patient outcomes, advancing nursing science, and developing their careers. At EHC, you can be the difference. We invite you to come grow with us!

Find a nursing position within the Emory Healthcare family.

To learn more about what drives Dr. Pappas as a leader and her vision for the future, read her feature story in the February 2019 issue of Nurse Leader.

The Catching Point: Gaining Enough Momentum to Make Weight Loss Easier

One thing is clear regarding healthy diet and exercise: it is much easier for those who are already lean to do it for body maintenance than it is for those who are obese trying to make a change. People hoping to lose pounds quickly by abruptly starting to exercise and eat well ignite a survival response that turns hundreds of thousands of would-be dieters back each year.

The nature of the survival response is a subject for another article, but for now – how can we overcome it? How can we get that critical amount of momentum, after which things are so much easier? How can we stay on track long enough so that habits “catch?”

The traditional teaching is to push through it and overcome the early entry barrier with “mind over matter” techniques. Unfortunately, that approach has contributed to notoriously high diet failure rates and continually increasing incidences of obesity. In recent years, the obesity medicine literature has provided us with new options that address sustainability. These principles help patients stay engaged long enough so that healthy living gets easier; long enough to reach a “catching point.”

1. Something is better than nothing.

The American Heart Association, Centers for Disease Control, and the American College of Cardiology (among others) categorically agree that “progress, not perfection” should be the goal. Time and time again, the pursuit of perfection leads to failure. The inability to keep a predetermined schedule leads to the all-or-nothing decision to “quit your diet.” Dieters should strive to accumulate as much change as possible in the long run. That is, successful weight loss will come for the person who is persistent about accumulating 15 workouts or 15 healthy meals or 15 recoveries in total, rather than necessarily in a specified amount of time (i.e., 10 pounds in 10 days).

2. Flexibility is associated with success in weight loss.

Rigid structure leads to failure. People cannot follow generalized day-by-day schedules for a host of reasons: the body rebels, life gets in the way, motivation wanes, etc. Weight Watchers® is endorsed by many medical groups and has been successful largely because of its implementation of flexibility to obtain the long-term goal. The same principle is helpful for staying on track regarding fitness, recovery, and diet.

3. Recovery is essential for actual body change to take place.

Successful people in the fitness space attend to recovery. Obese individuals generally lack the exercise capacity to significantly affect calorie balance. These individuals should employ exercise in this space to induce adaption, so that they will improve their ability to burn absolute calories and their bodies will initiate neural signals from the periphery to the brain (outside-in) that will ease their burden of exercise.

4. Concepts are proven effective in weight loss.

The concepts of self-monitoring, stimulus control, specific nutritional choices, motivational interviewing, and physical activity are proven effective in weight loss. A combination of these techniques may accelerate dieters through the stages of change toward long-term effect.

5. The hunger hormone system can be bypassed and appetite can be changed.

A complex system of hunger hormones exists that drives human beings to eat in order to survive. This system is responsible for the intense hunger pangs, fatigue, and motivation “zap” that follow the onset of calorie restriction and new exercise. This system can be modified, through careful (intentional) activity and supplemented recovery, to keep dieters on track.

The goal of these principles is to change failure rates. There is no question that the great majority of available diet and exercise programs would indeed lead to weight loss if completed. The pandemic issue is that people quit them. Attention to these principles may help dieters stay engaged long enough for the lifestyle to “catch” and the survival response to diminish.

About J. David Prologo, MD

J. David Prologo, MD, FSIR, ABOM-D is a dual board-certified interventional obesity medicine specialist. He is a nationally recognized expert in ablative therapies and has pioneered several interventions for the management of obesity through sustainability, including the freezing of the hunger nerve and catching point capacity curve. Dr. Prologo’s research focus is on helping patients “not quit their diets.” Specifically, he works to make dieters successful by managing the body’s resistance to change.



Public Notice: Magnet Recognition Program – Site Visit



Emory University Hospital was designated as a Magnet organization in 2014 by the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program®. This prestigious designation recognizes excellence in nursing services. In August, 2018, Emory University Hospital is applying for re-designation.

Patients, family members, staff, and interested parties who would like to provide comments are encouraged to do so. Anyone may send comments via e-mail and direct mail. All comments received by phone must be followed up in writing to the Magnet Program Office.

Your comments must be received by the Magnet Program Office by Friday, July 27, 2018.

NOTE: All comments are CONFIDENTIAL and are not shared with the health care organization. Comments may be anonymous, but they must be sent in writing to the Magnet Program Office.


8515 Georgia Ave., Suite 400
Silver Spring, MD 20910-3492
E-Mail: magnet@ana.org
Phone: 866-588-3301 (toll free)

All comments received by phone must be followed up in writing to the Magnet Program Office.


Congratulations to Emory’s 2018 Atlanta Top Doctors

Once again, Atlanta magazine’s July 2018 Top Doctors issue features the annual listing of Top Doctors in the metro Atlanta area. We are proud to announce that of all the health systems represented on the list, Emory Healthcare has more Top Docs than any other health system in Atlanta. Emory physicians represented 42% of the total doctors recognized – 329 Emory physicians to be exact.

These physicians include those who practice at one of our six hospitals and over 200 provider locations, as well as those who hold faculty positions at the Emory University School of Medicine.

We honor, celebrate and thank all of our 2018 Atlanta Top Doctors—and their outstanding care teams—for providing exceptional care to our patients and families, and for truly making patient- and family-centered care their priority each day. Congratulations to you all!


To compile the annual “Top Doctors” list, Castle Connolly uses a survey and research process involving tens of thousands of top doctors across America and the medical leadership of leading hospitals. Atlanta’s top doctors are selected after peer nomination, extensive research, careful review and screening by Castle Connolly’s doctor-directed research team. Atlanta magazine uses the research by Castle Connolly to provide detailed information about education, training and special expertise of Atlanta doctors. Doctors do not and cannot pay to be selected and profiled as Castle Connolly “Top Doctors.”

As our Emory Healthcare family continues to grow, so too does our ability to provide Atlanta and Georgia residents access to more top healthcare providers. Communities all over Georgia now have access to more Emory top doctors. Big or small, major or minor, if you have a reason to seek medical care, there is an Emory Healthcare facility and an Emory Healthcare Network physician near you.


The Emory Healthcare Network is a clinically integrated network through which we provide access to coordinated patient- and family-centered care. With six hospitals, over 200 provider locations and 2,000 physicians in more than 70 specialties, the Network delivers care through a full range of hospitals, clinics and local practices, including more than 120 primary care locations, over 20 urgent care locations, and 38 MinuteClinics.

Exercising While Pregnant

  • “I’m worried if I run, that I will hurt my baby.”
  • “If I continue to do Pilates, will I squish my little one?”
  • “Can I keep doing Cross Fit?”
  • “I’ve never really exercised before…can I start now that I’m pregnant?”

These are some common questions pregnant patients ask during visits and understandably so as there is so much conflicting information out there. Hopefully, this will shed some light on the subject.

What is exercise? Why should I make it a part of my routine?

Exercise, defined as a planned activity with the intention of improving one or more components of physical fitness, has been shown to have many positive benefits for a person in pregnancy. Pregnant patients who have maintained a regular exercise schedule have shown to gain a healthier amount of weight during pregnancy, lose excess weight more quickly after delivery, reduce the risk of medical conditions related to pregnancy such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and cesarean sections, as well as, an overall improved feeling of well-being during pregnancy itself.

To Exercise or Not to Exercise

First, before starting an exercise program, it is important that you speak with your provider and understand if your pregnancy is high or low risk. There are certain conditions in which exercise in pregnancy may be unsafe, such as:

  • Significant heart or lung disease
  • Incompetent cervix or cerclage
  • Multiple pregnancies at risk for preterm labor
  • Bleeding in the second or third trimester
  • Placental concerns
  • Premature labor during the current pregnancy
  • Premature rupture of membranes
  • Pre-eclampsia or high blood pressure in pregnancy
  • Severe anemia

For those who are considered to have a low-risk pregnancy, there are very few limitations on what you can do. It is recommended that healthy pregnant people get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity divided over the course of a week, (i.e., brisk walking, water aerobics, bicycling slower than 10mph).

If one has regularly participated in more vigorous-intensity activity or who may be considered highly active prior to pregnancy, they may consider continuing these activities during pregnancy, safely, with modifications as needed. Some examples of vigorous-intensity include: running, swimming laps, hiking uphill, bicycling more than 10mph, or high-intensity interval training.

If one has not been very active prior to pregnancy, it is ok to start during pregnancy. It is just important to start slowly and build up. Consider setting a time goal for yourself for about 10-15 minutes for the first few weeks, adding about 10 minutes or so until you hit the goal of about 30 minutes. It may take a few weeks to achieve your goal, but that’s ok. Consistency is key.

Activities to consider avoiding when pregnant:

  • Skydiving
  • Scuba diving
  • Activities with a high risk of falling/abdominal trauma, ie. Water skiing, surfing, off-road cycling, horseback riding
  • Contact sports
  • Hot yoga or hot Pilates

How much is too much?

It used to be thought that a pregnant person should not increase their heart rate above a certain level with exercise. However, this has been proven to be inaccurate. It is more accurate by monitoring your level of exertion – if it feels hard, it likely is (see table 1 below). Another way is to do that is by the “talk test.” If you are able to carry on a conversation while exercising, it is likely that you are not overexerting yourself.

While performing physical activity, it is encouraged that you rate your perception of exertion. This feeling should reflect how heavy and strenuous the exercise feels to you, combining all sensations and feelings of physical stress, effort, and fatigue. Do not concern yourself with any one factor such as leg pain or shortness of breath but try to focus on your total feeling of exertion.

Try to appraise your feeling of exertion as honestly as possible, without thinking about what the actual physical load is. Your feeling of effort and exertion is important, not how it compares to others. Look at the rating scale below while you are engaging in an activity; it ranges from 6 to 20, where 6 means “no exertion at all” and 20 means “maximal exertion.” Choose the number from below that best describes your level of exertion. This will give you a good idea of the intensity level of your activity, and you can use this information to speed up or slow down your movements to reach your desired range.

Table 1: Borg Exertional Scale – from CDC


Borg RPE scale © Gunnar Borg, 1970, 1985, 1994, 1998

Important Considerations

With pregnancy, your center of gravity changes as the curve in the lower back increases. Therefore, modifications to your exercise practice may be needed. Additionally, laying on your back for prolonged periods of time should be avoided. Working with your instructor and listening to your body is very important. If it hurts, you feel unbalanced, dizzy, or any other concerns, then consider stopping that particular movement and moving to the next one. Or, you may want to stop completely. Persistent pain or discomfort warrants evaluation by a health care provider.

Remember that it is important to stay adequately hydrated while exercising and to ensure adequate caloric intake, especially before engaging in high-intensity or prolonged exercise. Again, listening to your body is very important!

Stop exercising if you experience…

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Contractions that are regular and painful
  • Concern for the leaking of fluid
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing before exercise
  • Headache
  • Chest pain
  • Concern for balance
  • Calf pain or swelling

Staying Motivated

Again, consistency is key! Sometimes having a partner to work-out with may be helpful. Group prenatal exercise classes may offer the social setting to accomplish the goal of achieving physical fitness while establishing relationships with other expectant parents. Prenatal exercise DVDs or streaming prenatal work-outs may also help, giving the option of convenience to working out.

Bottom Line

It is safe to start exercising or continue to exercise in low-risk pregnancies after discussing with your health-care provider. Exercise is an important part of maintaining good physical and mental health and has been shown to have positive benefits during pregnancy.

To schedule an appointment with an Emory Women’s Center Obstetrician,
call our appointment line at 404-778-3401.

Sexual Dysfunction

What you may have been labeling as “lack of sexual interest” or “painful sex” is a form of sexual dysfunction, a common and frequently treatable issue. The term “sexual dysfunction” refers to a recurring or persistent problem that interferes with a person’s ability to have sex or enjoy a sexual experience.  Sexual dysfunction can occur at any point in a woman’s life.  The process of sexual enjoyment is complex, especially in women.  There are multiple points at which the “dysfunction” can occur, and many times there is more than one factor at play.

Common problems which can occur include:

  • Low desire or the lack of sexual interest
  • Lack of arousal or difficulty maintaining the arousal
  • Inability to achieve orgasm
  • Pain instigated by intercourse or chronic pain preventing intercourse

Low desire, lack of arousal and inability to achieve an orgasm can be due to:

  • Medications, such as anti-depressants, high blood pressure medication, alcohol, and illicit drugs.
  • Mental state as it relates to the relationship with your partner, cultural or religious issues as it pertains to the act of sex, and issues with body image.
  • Stress and anxiety—This can be situational as well as chronic
  • Hormonal changes, such as menopause or changes in contraception.
  • Medical problems, especially those that affect the nerves and blood vessels (i.e., diabetes, peripheral vascular disease).
  • History of sexual abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder, or a negative sexual experience.


Menopause is the point in life where the body no longer produces estrogen.  Natural menopause is defined as no menses for one year.  You may be at the point where menses may be present but irregular, which is referred to as peri-menopause.  Sexual function can change both with peri-menopause and menopause, as well as with surgical menopause (when the ovaries are removed surgically).  This is due to the lack of estrogen in the vagina which makes the vagina drier, less elastic or flexible, and decreases the blood flow to the area causing the vaginal skin to become thinner.


Vaginal pain can be caused by other reasons beyond hormonal changes, especially in women who are premenopausal.  Pain disorders can cause sexual dysfunction cycles which can be a challenge to break. One can experience pain with intercourse, vaginal dryness, constant vaginal/pelvic/lower abdominal pain, and vaginal irritation which may be mistaken for vaginal infections or urinary tract infections. However, the negative experience associated with a painful sexual experience can trigger an ongoing sexual dysfunction cycle.

Steps to Addressing Pain with Intercourse

The first step is to identify what is prompting the pain (there may be more than one contributing reason), then to focus therapies (more than one therapy simultaneously is often necessary):

  • An anatomic issue with the vagina—Sometimes if a woman is dealing with a scar tissue band or pelvic organ prolapse/vaginal bulge this may change the anatomy (the shape) of the vagina.  This change in structure may result in painful intercourse. Addressing these anatomical changes may require pelvic floor physical therapy or surgery to correct the issue.
  • Pelvic floor dysfunction—If you have experienced pain with intercourse or even without intercourse, the cause may be abnormally tight pelvic muscles. This inability to relax pelvic floor muscles may cause abnormal feedback to pelvic organs causing pain, bladder dysfunction or anorectal dysfunction.  Pelvic floor physical therapy is the most commonly prescribed treatment, but other therapies may be necessary in conjunction with physical therapy to achieve better sexual function and alleviate pain.
  • Vulvovaginal skin changes— The thinning of the walls of the vagina caused by decreased estrogen levels is a change in the vagina that occurs with menopause, and sometimes during the peri-menopausal period.  There are hormonal and non-hormonal therapies which can be initiated for treatment.  Other times, hormonal changes may not be the issue. Lichen sclerosus is an autoimmune skin condition of the vulva (outside of the vagina) which can cause irritation and pain.  The treatment for lichen sclerosus is different and will need a biopsy first to confirm the diagnosis.
  • Interstitial cystitis (IC) or Bladder Pain Syndrome—This is a condition of the bladder which can cause bladder pain, urinary urgency and frequency, and painful intercourse.  IC often makes one think she has urinary tract infections but will have negative urine cultures.  There are many ways to try to alleviate IC which include diet changes, pelvic floor physical therapy, stress management, or medications.
  • Stress and anxiety, history of sexual abuse—Finding outlets or methods to manage stress and anxiety are paramount to break the pain cycle. Psychotherapy is very important with pain and anxiety disorders, as well as, with a history of sexual abuse to obtain better overall function and strengthen relationships thus helping sexual function.
  • Other medical issues may cause pelvic pain and pain with intercourse such as endometriosis and irritable bowel syndrome.  Other specialists may need to be involved in helping manage these issues.

Multidisciplinary approaches with pelvic floor physical therapists, psychiatrists/counselors, gynecologist or urogynecologist, and other specialists such as urologists and gastroenterologists are often required for managing pain disorders or painful disorders.

Talking to your primary care physician or gynecologist openly about your sexual dysfunction, and how it is impacting your life and relationships is a necessary first step.  Your physician may be able to help you or may refer you to a specialist.  Therapy will take time, especially since there is no “magic cure” for sexual dysfunction. However, with positive steps in the right direction, sexual function can be improved.

Call 404-778-3401 to make an appointment or visit emoryhealthcare.org/gyn to learn more.

About Sana Ansari, MD

Sana Ansari, MD is a Urogynecologist and Pelvic Reconstructive Surgeon with Emory Women’s Center, and Assistant Professor at Emory University School of Medicine. Her specialties include Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery, Urogynecology, and Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is currently accepting patients at Emory Johns Creek Hospital and Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital.

Top 10 Things Care Coordinators Do For You

Care coordinators are there to help you navigate the sometimes confusing world of health care so you can get and stay healthy, or manage chronic disease. Whether you are juggling multiple doctors’ appointments or returning to daily life after a hospital admission, staying on top of your health can seem like a full-time job. That’s where care coordinators come in. Care coordinators are registered nurses, social workers, health educators and case managers who help you manage your chronic health condition and stay in touch with you after a hospital stay or doctor’s appointment to ensure you have the resources you need to get and stay healthy.

Emory Healthcare provides care coordination services through the Emory Coordinated Care Center and Emory Healthcare Network Care Coordination.

Keep reading to learn the top 10 things care coordinators can do for you.

1. Help you set and meet healthy lifestyle goals. Care coordinators can work with you to set achievable health goals and prevent chronic disease, such as diabetes and heart disease.

“We use motivational interviewing skills, health education and lifestyle modification discussions to help patients to improve our patients’ knowledge and get them more engaged in their healthcare,” says Misty Landor, RN, MSN, CNS, ANP-C, manager of Emory Healthcare Network Care Coordination.

2. Keep you accountable to your goals. Your care coordinator may reach out to you on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis depending on your health needs.

“We have a multidisciplinary team of that helps patients get the care they need in the time they have,” explains Landor. This team includes:

  • A registered nurse who serves as care coordinator or case manager to oversee chronic disease management
  • Licensed social workers who support patients with psychosocial needs, like transportation, caregiver support or mental health care
  • Health educators who work with people to develop healthy lifestyle goals
  • Care coordination associates who help patients schedule appointments, get prescriptions filled and complete referral forms

3. Connect you with a primary care provider. Care coordinators can help you find a primary care physician so you can see him or her when you have a health need, rather than visit the emergency department.

4. Help you manage chronic disease. “We bring patients with chronic diseases into our disease management program, which is run by a nurse practitioner,” says Varnette Robinson, RN, BSN, lead case manager at Emory Coordinator Care Center. “The disease management program covers diabetes, hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart failure and chronic kidney disease (CKD). We also assist patients if they need wound care.”

5. Get your prescriptions filled. Care coordinators can help you get your prescriptions filled and will follow up to ensure you are taking your medications correctly.

“Many times, patients come back to the hospital because they were unable to get their prescriptions filled, perhaps because they didn’t have a caregiver or transportation,” says Robinson.

6. Schedule doctor’s appointments. A care coordinator can help you schedule doctor’s appointments at a time convenient for you.

7. Provide access to mental health care. Care coordinators are trained to identify patients with depression and anxiety, and connect them to mental health resources.

8. Find caregiver or home health services. “We follow patients after they go home and make sure they are connected to appropriate community resources as needed,” says Robinson. “We make sure they have good social support, transportation, food and medication. We go the extra mile to figure out what the patient needs.”

For example, if a patient is discharged from the hospital and does not have anyone to care for her once she is home, the care coordinator will connect her to a community resource that can provide in-home care until she is well again.

9. Prevent hospital readmission. “If the patient is in pain or having recurring issues, we can bring them in to the Emory Coordinated Care Center so they aren’t going to the emergency department. This prevents unnecessary hospital readmission. If we identify any issues during our calls, we bring them to the Center.”

10. Be a source of support. “We are there to support patients 100 percent,” says Robinson. “Getting them what they need when they need it is going to improve their quality of life. We are part of a support system to facilitate them living well.”

To learn more about care coordination at Emory, click here.