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Release Date: 09/20/2016

Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, a Care New England hospital, has been selected by the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) to participate in the Pelvic Floor Disorders Network (PFDN) for a second consecutive five-year cycle. Women & Infants is one of just seven medical centers from across the US, and the only one in the Northeast, to work collaboratively to develop and perform research studies related to women with pelvic floor disorders.

Principal investigator at Women & Infants is Vivian Sung, MD, MPH, FACOG of Women & Infants’ Division of Urogynecology and Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery and associate professor at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.  

“Pelvic floor disorders are an issue of growing importance, from both an individual and public health point of view,” said Dr. Sung. “Participating in such high-level, national research will offer us the opportunity to test and refine the most appropriate treatment protocols for women for generations to come. From a patient perspective, being part of this network also brings new and cutting edge treatment options to women in our region.”

The five-year grant from the NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development will enable members of the Network to design and conduct large-scale, high quality studies to significantly advance the care of women with pelvic floor disorders. Studies include treatments and prevention of urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, and other sensory and emptying abnormalities of the lower urinary and gastrointestinal tracts.

The PFDN team aims to learn more about how to help women with pelvic floor problems. Treatments are available, but there are still questions about how best to take care of women with pelvic floor concerns. The PFDN was started to study pelvic floor disorders to bring forth answers to these questions.

Studies currently enrolling include a randomized trial studying the most effective procedures for prolapse of the vagina, a randomized trial studying different treatment options for controlling bowel leakage, and a randomized trial evaluating the best treatments for mixed urinary incontinence. To find out about the open studies in the Pelvic Floor Disorders Network at Women & Infants Hospital, please contact Ann Meers, BS, RN, CCRC, research supervisor, at ameers@wihri.org or at (401) 430-8228.

About Women & Infants Hospital

Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, a Care New England hospital, is one of the nation’s leading specialty hospitals for women and newborns. A major teaching affiliate of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University for obstetrics, gynecology and newborn pediatrics, as well as a number of specialized programs in women’s medicine, Women & Infants is the 9th largest stand-alone obstetrical service in the country and the largest in New England with approximately 8,500 deliveries per year. A Designated Baby-Friendly® USA hospital, U.S.News & World Report 2014-15 Best Children’s Hospital in Neonatology and a 2014 Leapfrog Top Hospital, in 2009 Women & Infants opened what was at the time the country’s largest, single-family room neonatal intensive care unit.

Women & Infants and Brown offer fellowship programs in gynecologic oncology, maternal-fetal medicine, urogynecology and reconstructive pelvic surgery, neonatal-perinatal medicine, pediatric and perinatal pathology, gynecologic pathology and cytopathology, and reproductive endocrinology and infertility. It is home to the nation’s first mother-baby perinatal psychiatric partial hospital, as well as the nation’s only fellowship program in obstetric medicine.

Women & Infants has been designated as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiography; a Center of Excellence in Minimally Invasive Gynecology; a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence by the National Institutes of Health (NIH); and a Neonatal Resource Services Center of Excellence. It is one of the largest and most prestigious research facilities in high risk and normal obstetrics, gynecology and newborn pediatrics in the nation, and is a member of the National Cancer Institute’s Gynecologic Oncology Group and the Pelvic Floor Disorders Network.
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