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Subscribe to Our uPdaTe SmartBrief Newsletter!

Posted on: April 5th, 2017 by Aika Barzhaxynova No Comments

uPdaTe SmartBrief is a free biweekly newsletter for all physical therapists, physical therapist assistants and student specializing or interested in pelvic and abdominal health, as well as women’s and men’s health in general. Topics covered include but are not limited to

  • pelvic and abdominal pain
  • incontinence
  • pre- and post-menopausal issues
  • sexual dysfunction
  • cancer rehabilitation
  • lymphedema
  • constipation
  • osteoporosis
  • wellness and nutrition
  • health care trends
  • athlete issues
  • other evidence-based research and news.

You do NOT need to be an SOWH member to subscribe to this quick-read, curated research publication.

SOWH uPdaTe SmartBrief

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SOWH’s uPdaTe SmartBrief reaches nearly 3,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants and students who specialize in pelvic and abdominal health, as well as women’s and men’s health in general. Please contact Alexandra Hill at [email protected] for more information on advertising opportunities.

Latest News in Women's and Men's Health Physical Therapy






Section on Women’s Health Launches New Mission, Vision, and Strategic Plan

Posted on: January 16th, 2017 by Aika Barzhaxynova No Comments

Watch the President’s Message:

In honor of our 40th anniversary in 2017, we are rolling out new and upgraded membership benefits building on the wonderful feedback we received from the 2016 SOWH Membership Survey and the 18-month organizational study administered by the SOWH Name Change Task Force and Navigate Consulting.

Through these efforts, you’ve told us you most value evidence-based research and practices such as those in our Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy, our discounted education courses, and our ever-growing programming at the APTA Combined Sections Meeting.

The membership survey also confirms that being part of a passionate, professional, and specialized community is vital to you, especially connections made via our PT Locator directory and events. In response, we are improving and expanding even more of these services. Watch for monthly updates throughout 2017!

Most importantly in this celebratory year, SOWH will be enacting a new mission, vision, and strategic plan that simultaneously re-centers on our historical roots and secures our position as a contemporary, innovative organization. These statements demonstrate our continued commitment to both our members and to being a member-driven organization—just as we were when founded by Elizabeth Noble in 1977.

The inspiration for a next-generation mission-vision emerged while the SOWH Board of Directors was crafting a three- to five-year strategic plan. Moving forward, the Section will focus on the following:


Our mission is to advance global excellence in abdominal and pelvic health through evidence-based practice, innovative education, research, and social responsibility.


As a global authority in abdominal and pelvic health, we transform society by empowering professionals and people everywhere.


Join our member-led, collaborative, nonprofit community! We are committed to education, research, and promotion of personalized care in abdominal and pelvic physical therapy.

The need for this shift surfaced organically as the Section grew to nearly 3,000 members and developed a richer cache of member data, rebranding research, and insightful feedback. The board realized it needed to create a brand that clarifies our unique values, attributes, and purpose. Like the world around us, our practice, patients, and members have evolved dramatically in the past four decades, presenting new opportunities and shifting needs and desires. Why should members join us today? How can we make a difference in their lives and those of their patients?

These answers go far beyond a name change for the organization. Our rapidly growing educational offerings—nearly double the number offered in 2016–focus almost exclusively on pelvic and abdominal health physical therapy, as do the most popular contributions for our journal, on-demand learning modules, and conference programming. Analytics from multiple sources show that professionals and consumers alike are reaching out to us specifically for guidance around pelvic, abdominal, and obstetrics physical therapy issues. However, our mission and vision at that time did not clearly reflect our specialty or inclusiveness as it is actually practiced.

The new strategic plan sets the stage for the next exciting decade! Although it identifies six primary goals, all of them are bound by the themes of increasing communications, data-driven decision-making, and service to an increasingly diverse and global physical therapy community.

The Six Goals of the 2016 to 2019-plus Strategic Plan:

  1. Provide multi-level professional education that is excellent, relevant, and diverse.
  2. Conduct effective branding that is supported by timely, clear marketing and communications.
  3. Build community through professional and social networking, and create opportunities for the next generation of leaders.
  4. Promote best practices through practice guidelines.
  5. Develop and implement a rigorous research strategy.
  6. Review our governance structure and practices to become a more strategic board.

Our redefined future actually beckons us back to the roots of our initial creation, when we were known as the APTA Section on Obstetrics and Gynecology. Our latest shift reaffirms that what SOWH “owns” in the physical therapy community is primarily what we treat – pelvic and abdominal health.

I am tremendously proud and grateful for the amount of work achieved by so many volunteers and your elected leaders and staff during the past year and a half. A heartfelt thanks goes to every one of you who shared your opinions and ideas via the membership survey, 2016 town hall meeting, one-on-one interviews with our consultants, and other communications. We could not have accomplished this without your feedback and faith!

In terms of next steps, an overall Program of Work is underway to break down the plan into assigned tasks and duties of committees, task forces, staff, and the board. We welcome your involvement! Please contact Volunteer Coordinator Ashley Watts at [email protected] if you’d like to participate in any of our projects to improve the world’s pelvic and abdominal health.

Meanwhile, the Name Change Task Force will continue its work toward a potential new name reflective of our distinctive focus on pelvic and abdominal health. The goal is to make a recommendation to membership and APTA in the upcoming year. Please direct any related questions to Name Change Task Force Chair Carrie Pagliano, [email protected].

With an aligned mission, vision, and strategic plan, I’m confident we are ready for our future and are better positioned to advance excellence through evidence-based practice, innovative education, research, and social responsibility!

If you have any feedback, we want to hear from you. Please email Executive Director Kristin Clarke at [email protected], who will be sharing member communications with the board. Thank you again for your loyalty to the Section and profession. We’re looking forward to being on this exciting journey with you!

AUTHOR: Patricia Wolfe, PT, MS, is president of SOWH. She can be reached at [email protected]






Women’s Health Specialty Council Is Accepting Applications for Specialization Academy of Content Experts

Posted on: July 18th, 2016 by Aika Barzhaxynova No Comments

The Women’s Health Specialty Council is now accepting applications for the Specialization Academy of Content Experts (SACE). This is an opportunity to write items for the specialist certification examinations.

As a SACE you are assigned a mentor to help guide you as you develop items for submission for a two-year term. SACE members receive a $100 discount on registration if they attend CSM and also will receive points toward maintenance of their certification for questions that are used for the Women’s Health exam.

Applications will be accepted until August 1, 2016.

The application and more details about this process are on the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists website:

If you have questions, please contact Stacie Dichsen, PT, WCS, at [email protected].






Do you have a complex case you want to share?

Posted on: July 3rd, 2016 by Aika Barzhaxynova No Comments

Back by popular demand for CSM 2017 in San Antonio, the Section on Women’s Health will be hosting “Complex Cases,” and we need your help!

We are looking for six cases that show your clinical reasoning through a complex case related to women’s and men’s health.

If you have or had a patient

  • who had an interesting diagnosis or outcome,
  • for whom you needed to use evidence-based intervention,
  • whose case you think other therapists could learn from,

please provide a one- to two-page summary of the case history, intervention, and outcome (including two to three up-to-date references) to Valerie Bobb at [email protected] by Friday, July 15.

You must be able to attend the Combined Sections Meeting in San Antonio, Texas, February 15-18, 2017, and present your case during the session.

Your willingness to help is much appreciated!







*NEW* SOWH Opens Its Courses to Physical Therapist Assistants: Recognizing the Critical Role of PTAs in Pelvic Health Rehabilitation

Posted on: May 12th, 2016 by Aika Barzhaxynova No Comments

By Lora Ann Mize

The board of directors of the Section on Women’s Health has been evaluating the role of the physical therapist assistant (PTA) in pelvic health practice. Historically, SOWH pelvic health courses have been rp_Lori-Mize-150x150.pngopen only to physical therapists due to the ongoing evaluation and assessment involved in internal pelvic examinations.

However, the board now recognizes that PTAs both have an important role to play and a benefit to receive from the education their PT colleagues receive. During APTA’s 2016 Combined Sections Meeting, we voted unanimously to accept a new PTA Education Statement recognizing and inviting PTAs to participate in Section courses as a vital part of the PT/PTA pelvic health rehabilitation team.

We hope PTAs will attend any of our 24 courses in 2016—including all CAPP-Pelvic and CAPP-OB courses–for education and training that prepares them for this role. Access to the Section’s Collaborative Courses (those unrelated to the CAPP courses) will be determined on an individual basis and in conjunction with the particular instructor and owner of that material.

PTs and PTAs who comprise a pelvic health team are trusted with following their own state practice act and licensing regulations in regards to scope of practice. However, we have developed guidelines regarding the role of the PTA in pelvic health rehabilitation to assist teams who want SOWH help in defining roles. The entire PTA Education Statement is listed below.

If you have any questions, we are happy to help. Contact the director of education at [email protected], or the director of practice at [email protected]. We look forward to more collaboration with our PTA colleagues!

The Section on Women’s Health (SoWH)

Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Education Statement

The Section on Women’s Health (SoWH) invites Physical Therapist Assistants (PTA) to participate in the continuing education courses in the pelvic and pregnancy series (CAPP or Certificate of Achievement in Pelvic/Pregnancy). Participation for PTAs will include successful completion of lab skills testing and written examinations.

Currently, the “CAPP” designation may be achieved by PTs. While PTAs are encouraged to attend CAPP courses, the CAPP designation remains for the practitioners (PTs) who will perform evaluative activities with patients/clients.

The intent of the CAPP courses is to provide a greater knowledge base for the PTA who is working in pelvic health. While the courses include a significant portion of evaluation content, the Section believes that the PTA working in this field benefits from understanding the evaluative components provided by the PT.

In opening courses to our PTA colleagues, SOWH understands that PT/PTA pelvic health teams would desire guidance on appropriate PTA utilization. Thus, the Section is providing the following six statements regarding PTA practice in pelvic health:

  1. Internal pelvic intervention often requires continuous evaluation and assessment. Thus, some patients may not be appropriate candidates for a PTA due to the need for ongoing assessment during interventions.
  1. It is the responsibility of the PT to recognize patients/clients with conditions that require ongoing assessment and evaluation. In these cases, the PT should abstain from delegating these patients/clients to a PTA.
  1. Patients/clients with pelvic health (obstetric, gynecologic, urologic, and gastrointestinal) conditions may have sensitive diagnoses and/or psychosocial considerations that would benefit best from care from a consistent health care provider. Thus, delegation to PTAs for some of these patient/clients should be avoided or managed in such a way to promote patient trust, satisfaction, and adherence.
  1. It is the responsibility of the PT to exercise judgment as to whether a patient/client’s condition or psychosocial health requires an elevated level of sensitivity that may preclude or limit delegation to a PTA.
  1. The SOWH trusts the PT and PTA to know, understand, and adhere to state practice acts and any rules/regulations that govern that PT and PTA’s professional license in relation to working with patients/clients with pelvic health conditions.

The SOWH also acknowledges that many PT/PTA teams would like guidance and examples on appropriate PTA utilization. Thus, the SoWH is providing the following suggestions on interventions that may be appropriately delegated. This is NOT intended to supersede PTA licensure rules and regulations, nor is this intended to be an inclusive list. However, consider this list as a resource for developing PT/PTA pelvic health team collaboration.

With appropriate delegation, PTAs would likely provide the following within the PT’s plan of care:

  • Biofeedback intervention and progression
  • Electrical stimulation intervention for the pelvic floor
  • Internal pelvic floor muscle techniques that do not require ongoing assessment/evaluation
  • External pelvic floor muscle exercise
  • Education of pelvic floor muscle home exercise program
  • Intervention with vaginal weights
  • Intervention with vaginal dilators
  • Behavioral intervention for bowel and bladder
  • Internal pelvic floor tests and measures

SOWH has developed the above statements and guidelines in correlation with the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) statement on PTA practice.

The APTA states the following:

“Physical therapist assistants (PTAs) are educated and licensed clinicians that work under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist to improve your mobility and help you move forward.

PTAs must complete rigorous academic and clinical education associate degree programs; pass a national licensure examination; and be licensed or certified by the states in which they work (the exception is Hawaii, where there is no licensure/certification for PTAs).

Working closely with the physical therapist, they may provide components of your care such as therapeutic exercise, functional training, deep soft tissue massage, and physical modalities such as electrotherapy and ultrasound. PTAs may also provide instruction in exercise, proper body mechanics, and other injury prevention and wellness topics.

PTAs work with physical therapists to treat patients of all ages who have medical problems or other conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. They work in all settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, schools, sports and fitness facilities, work settings, and nursing homes.”

(Reference: accessed 12-18-15)

An additional resource regarding appropriate PTA practice:

Author: Lora Ann Mize, PT, DPT, WCS is a board-certified specialist in women’s health and pelvic floor physical therapy. Mize has worked as a clinician in the profession 10 years and is an SOWH instructor in the area of pelvic health, as well as director of education for SOWH. An assistant professor at Lynchburg College Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program, she can be reached at [email protected] 






Nominations 2016 are Open for the 2017 Slate!

Posted on: February 3rd, 2016 by Aika Barzhaxynova No Comments



Nominations for the 2016 slate term are now open for application submissions!

The selected nominated members will be elected in 2016 to take office in February 2017. Open positions are listed HERE along with instructions and forms to follow and complete when submitting nomination applications. If you have any questions related to nominations, please contact Blair Green (2016 Nominating Committee Chair).






Sneak Peek: CSM 2016 Pre-Conferences

Posted on: August 27th, 2015 by Aika Barzhaxynova No Comments

Check out what’s in store for February 2016! Registration will soon be available for Section on Women’s Health Pre-Conferences. Stay tuned!

New Advances in Management of Male Continence

Understanding of male urinary continence is surprisingly incomplete and largely based on inaccurate assumptions of anatomy and function. This is likely to underpin the conflicting evidence of efficacy of pelvic floor muscle training for management of post-postatectomy incontinence. Unfortunately contemporary clinical practice is focused on assessment of anal contraction and training, which has little to do with urinary continence. Using innovative new recording techniques, the speaker’s research group is developing a new understanding of urinary continence and incontinence in men. This includes development of new assessments using transperineal ultrasound imagin gthat directly evaluate urethral pressure mechanisms. This new understanding provides a foundation for more specific assessments and interventions. This session will provide detail of the new understanding of male continence and train attendees in new methods of assessment and rehabilitation, including more holistic consideration of continence, breathing, and lumbopelvic control.

  1. Explain the continence mechanism in men and the differences between male and female mechanisms and describe the optimal exercise design to train continence in men.
  2. Discuss deficits in muscular control of continence in men after prostatectomy.
  3. Interpret ultrasound imaging of the pelvic floor in men.
  4. Assess interaction between continence, breathing, and lumbopelvic control.



Evidence has shown that adult pelvic muscle dysfunction began in childhood in many cases. The pediatric population is greatly underserved, causing undue stress for the child and family, as well as development of internalizing and externalizing psychological behaviors. The 2 most common pelvic floor dysfunctions in the pediatric population are dysfunctional elimination syndrome and bedwetting. This specialty focuses on the treatment of children with daytime or nighttime incontinence, fecal incontinence, and /or dysfunctional voiding habits. The speakers will review common causes of incontinence int he pediatric patient, as well as a comprehensive approach to evaluation, including video examinations of the pelvic floor, education, and exercise strategies. The session will include lecture, video, demonstration, and practical labs.

  1. Describe the development of normal urinary control in pediatrics.
  2. Explain pelvic floor functional relationship to voiding reflexes and constipation.
  3. Assimilate pediatric urology terminology and urodynamic testing in the pediatric patient.
  4. Treat pediatric pelvic floor dysfunction as it relates to bowel and bladder function.

 Register through and join the conversation!

See you in Anaheim!






Mark Your Calendars for PFD Week 2015!

Posted on: August 25th, 2015 by Aika Barzhaxynova No Comments

pfd week

Mark your calendars for PFD Week 2015, the 36th Annual AUGS Scientific Meeting in Seattle, Washington October 13-17.

As you are planning your schedule, make sure you plan to attend the following workshop sponsored by the AUGS Advanced Practice, Physical Therapy and Allied Health Special Interest Group (APPTAH SIG):

Advanced Practice, Physical Therapy and Allied Health (APPTAH) SIG Boot Camp: Pelvic Pain and Sexual Dysfunction related to PFD’s

Wednesday, October 14th 8:00 am-12:00 pm

Chair: Colleen Mellen, MS, CNS, APRN

Faculty: Heather Jeffcoat, DPT; Nazema Siddiqui, MD, HSC; Julie Starr, APRN, FNP-BC

Course Description: This exciting lab oriented course will cover evaluation and treatment of female pelvic pain and sexual dysfunction related to PFD’s for Advanced Practice, Physical Therapy and Allied Health professionals using an interdisciplinary approach. Lecture presentation of updates on pelvic pain/ sexual dysfunction etiology, evaluation and current treatment options by pelvic floor experts followed by concurrent, hands-on/ experiential sessions led by APPTAH pelvic floor specialists.

Breakout session topics include: (1)Mindfulness techniques, (2) trigger point injections, (3) pelvic floor assessment by PT, (4)pelvic floor function using 3-D musculoskeletal model, (5) vaginal dilator and pelvic floor prescription, (6) pregnancy/ post-partum/ C-section posture, (7)alignment and soft tissue manipulation, (8) pelvic floor biofeedback/ electrical stimulation, (9) pessary placement for treatment of pelvic pain related to PFD’s and for prediction of surgical outcomes.  (Each participant will sign up for five breakout sessions.)

 Visit to register!

Making Sense of Interdisciplinary Care for the Treatment of Pelvic Pain Caused by Mesh Surgery

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015 | 8:00 AM-5:00 PM 

Presenters: Carina Siracusa Majzun, PT, DPT, MJ Strauhal, PT, DPT, BCB-PMD; Mary McVeary, PT, DPT, WCS; Lora “Lori” Mize, PT, DPT, WCS.

Section on Women’s Health will also be presenting a workshop at the AUGS PFD WEEK 2015! During the first half of this course, interdisciplinary care patients with pelvic pain will be discussed. Through this workshop, you will learn about the role of the physical therapist within this team, including their education and their advanced clinical practice in the field of women’s health. We will also discuss the role of the other practitioners on this team and the role of the referral. You will learn the different physical therapy modalities used in the treatment of pelvic pain. During the second half of the course, you will learn the history of pelvic mesh surgical techniques and the complications that can accompany them. Gain hands on manual therapy techniques that can be used in the treatment of these complicated patients.

 Visit to register!






2015 Section on Women’s Health Election Results are IN!

Posted on: August 12th, 2015 by Aika Barzhaxynova No Comments

Photography (5)


The Nominating Committee would like to congratulate the following members elected to serve the Section, beginning their terms at CSM 2016:

Carrie Pagliano

Vice President: Carrie Pagliano 


Treasurer: Uchenna Ossai 

Lori Mize

Director of Education: Lori Mize 

Jennifer Hungate

Director of Practice: Jennifer Hungate 


Director of Communications: Christina Holladay 


Nominating Committee: Bernadette Kamin 

Thank you to all the outstanding members who submitted their candidacy to this year’s election!   And thank you to all of you who took the time to vote.

To those that did not vote in this year’s elections – we want to hear from you! Let us know how we can improve the election process and better serve you. Please contact Nominating Chair Kendra Erven [email protected] with any suggestions so that we can help you make your voice heard.



We are already looking ahead to the 2016 Section on Women’s Health Elections! The following positions will be open in 2016:

  • Secretary

  • Director of Financial Development

  • Director of Programming

  • Nominating Committee


Submitted by

Blair Green PT, MPT, OCS, CSCS

Nominating Committee







​Do You Have a Complex Case You Want to Share? We Need Your Help!

Posted on: July 1st, 2015 by Aika Barzhaxynova No Comments


Back by popular demand for CSM 2016 Anaheim, the women’s health section will be hosting “Complex Cases” and we need your help.  We are specifically looking for cases involving Male Pelvic Floor and Women in Sports.

If you have/had a patient that:

  • Had an interesting diagnosis or outcome
  • You used evidence based intervention
  • You think other therapists could learn from

Provide a summary of the case history, intervention and outcome to Valerie Bobb at [email protected] by July 10, 2015.

You must be able to attend Combined Section Meeting in Anaheim February 20, 2016 and present your case.






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