Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting: Pediatricians’ Comfort and Experience

Emily Rutland

Name: Emily Rutland
School: Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons, Class of 2024
Mentor: Jocelyn Brown, MD, MPH

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Female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM/C) is recognized as a human rights violation but still occurs in over 30 countries, mainly from infancy to age 15. Due to global migration, many at-risk and affected girls live in the United States, especially in large urban areas such as New York City. Pediatricians are front-line clinicians to whom at-risk and affected girls are most likely to present. As such, they are well positioned to provide culturally competent and trauma-informed care to those who have been cut, and education and guidance to families of those at risk. However, no national pediatric standards or training on FGM/C exist, and pediatricians do not routinely conduct external genital examinations (EGEs) such that diagnoses and at-risk children are often missed. Pediatricians’ comfort approaching FGM/C in the clinical setting has not been qualitatively studied. The objective of this study is to understand pediatricians’ comfort discussing FGM/C with patients and families and with performing EGEs on female patients. Data will be collected in the form of semi-structured qualitative interviews with general pediatricians in New York Presbyterian’s Ambulatory Care Network. The research team will code and analyze transcripts to identify common themes. Results from this study will help determine factors that affect pediatricians’ comfort level regarding FGM/C, including knowledge and training gaps. Findings will help to inform educational and training strategies and resources to better support pediatricians to protect and care for those at risk for or affected by FGM/C.