Ohio State pediatric and adolescent gynecology program continues to grow, meet the reproductive health needs across a lifetime
When Geri Hewitt, MD, joined the faculty at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center 27 years ago, she was one of only two pediatric and adolescent gynecologists in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Now, that number has expanded to four, and she is leading a growing pediatric and adolescent gynecology (PAG) program made possible by a dynamic partnership between the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Two additional Ohio State Ob/Gyns provide care at Nationwide Children’s for pregnant teens and HIV+ patients.
The PAG program offers comprehensive ambulatory, hospital-based and surgical gynecological care from birth through adulthood. This specialized care serves patients throughout central Ohio with multiple outpatient locations. The PAG surgeons also work collaboratively with other service lines at Nationwide Children’s, providing services for patients from all over the country who come to Nationwide Children’s for specialized care. All of the physicians have their academic home in the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
“We have a unique opportunity here in Columbus with one of the country’s largest, most prestigious freestanding pediatric hospitals right here in our backyard,” says Hewitt, who is chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Nationwide Children’s and a professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. “Nationwide recognizes pediatric and adolescent gynecology as a younger but growing specialty and has given a lot of support for our two institutions to work together collaboratively.”
Hewitt and her colleagues offer routine gynecologic services and also care for conditions such as:
- Acute and chronic pelvic pain
- Adnexal, uterine, vaginal and perineal abnormalities
- Congenital anomalies
- Cysts or masses on the ovaries
- Differences of sexual development (DSD), gender development and complex urological conditions
- Early or delayed puberty
- Menstrual issues
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Traumatic injury to the reproductive tract
They also provide services such as gender-affirming care, complex contraception and fertility preservation. The Ob/Gyns serve on multidisciplinary teams with pediatric colorectal, gastroenterology, surgical oncology, adolescent medicine and urology specialists at Nationwide Children’s to ensure comprehensive, well-coordinated care.
Most patients transition to adult medicine providers by college age, but those with complex medical needs may stay longer. The partnership between the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and Nationwide Children’s allows a seamless transition to adult Ob/Gyn care.
The PAG team also leads research studies and participates in several research consortiums, focusing on improving pelvic reconstruction outcomes and establishing best practices for treating ovarian neoplasms.
Hewitt holds leadership roles in national organizations dedicated to advancing gynecologic education, research and treatment for pediatric and adolescent patients, including as immediate past president of the North American Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology and co-chair of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology’s PAG Maintenance of Certification Writing Committee.
“Not everyone lives in a city like Columbus, with access to a large specialty Ob/Gyn practice that’s geared to children, adolescents and young adults,” Hewitt says. “In most places, PAG care comes from general Ob/Gyns, pediatricians, family medicine doctors, pediatric surgeons and urologists. National PAG-focused organizations help educate other clinicians so that they can meet the reproductive health needs of female patients, no matter where they live.”
Training the next generation of clinicians to provide PAG care is a priority at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. All third-year Ob/Gyn residents have a one-month rotation with the PAG program at Nationwide Children’s, which provides unique opportunities to learn about the specialty and assist with surgery. Fourth-year medical students are encouraged to spend time in the clinic as well. In fall 2022, the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and Nationwide Children’s are launching a PAG fellowship — one of only about 20 in the country.