United States' Obstetrician/Gynecologists' Readiness to Care for Women Affected by Female Genital Cutting

Kathryn E. Fay*, Carrie M. Snead, Kaitlin Huennekens, Catherine A. O'Brian, Laura Tom, Melissa A. Simon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Female genital cutting (FGC) is a form of gender-based violence with obstetrical and gynecological complications that require recognition and care. Data suggest that United States' physicians are not prepared to care for those who have been affected by this practice. This study evaluated the knowledge and practices of United States' obstetricians and gynecologists to care for patients who have undergone FGC. Materials and Methods: This was a cross-sectional confidential survey distributed electronically to a sample of clinically active members of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The survey consisted of questions characterizing care of patients who had undergone FGC and barriers to optimal support. Results: Five hundred forty-eight participants representing a wide range of years in practice, geographical locations, subspecializations, and patient demographics participated. Sixty-six percent of participants had cared for patients who had undergone FGC. Participants' description of their patient population racial/ethnic composition did not correlate with likelihood of treating this patient population. Forty percent of participants reported some form of education about FGC, more often among women, younger physicians, and those in practice for fewer years. Thirty-one percent of participants were comfortable counseling about and 20% were comfortable performing deinfibulation; these percentages were higher among those who had received education or had recently cared for an affected patient. Participants reported insufficient training as the largest barrier to providing care to women. Conclusions: While most physicians in this national cohort had cared for women who had undergone cutting, a minority had any form of education. However, prior education correlated with indicators of improved care. Physicians require additional guidance in treating this important and growing patient population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-438
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • clinical competence
  • female genital cutting
  • female genital mutilation
  • medically underserved

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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