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'At Your Cervix' comes to town

Posted at 3:09 PM on April 10, 2008 by Euan Kerr

The subject of pelvic exams tends to make people squirm. Many women regard the procedure as an unpleasant but necessary annual ritual. Many men just don't want to know.

Amy Jo Goddard wants to change all that. She is the co-writer, director, and producer of "At Your Cervix," a documentary which aims to educate about the procedure, and illuminate some of the unpleasant history of how doctors and nurses learn to do the procedure.

Shockingly, many medical personnel learn the procedure by practicing on women sedated for some other procedure. Often these patients have no idea they are being used for medical training, and never find out.

In some nursing schools trainee nurses are required to practice exams on one another often with faculty present, which Goddard says has led to traumatization of some women.

Goddard is an educator and a Gynecological Teaching Associate, one of a group of volunteers who go into medical schools in New York and train students on how to do pelvic exams, offering themselves as practice subjects.

While the film is about a serious subject, the trailer shows Goddard and her crew are sometimes able to take a slightly tongue in cheek approach.

The film makers are about to begin post-production, but this weekend they will be in the Twin Cities to raise money to complete the film. She speak and show clips from the film at All God's Children Metropolitan Community Church in Minneapolis at 7.00 on Saturday evening.

I talked to Goddard this morning about why she began began developing the project and what she hopes will happen with the film once it's completed later this year.

She says she realizes it's not likely to get a full cinematic release, but she thinks it will have a life on the festival circuit, and then as a teaching tool. She thinks it could be particularly useful in ethics classes.

April 2008
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