Master's Project Title:

Knowledge of Female Genital Cutting/Circumcision and its Influence on Clinical Practice

MCH Student:

Jessica Lane

Date of Defense:

May 29, 2015


Objective: To evaluate the knowledge of female genital cutting and its influence on clinical  practice among women’s health practitioners in the United States.

Methods: A 46 – question survey was completed by 508 healthcare providers who are members of  various national organizations.

Results: Most participants (87%, n=444) could not correctly identify the different forms of  Female Genital Cutting (FGC), yet the majority of respondents (60%, n=305) had previously  provided care to a patient who had undergone FGC. Only 12% of respondents felt comfortable  performing surgical defibulation procedures. Four aspects were found to be statistically  significant  – The first was being either an Obstetrician/Gynecologist or Midwife (p<0.001), prior exposure to any FGC training materials (p<0.001), having direct clinical care experience with an  FGC – affected woman (p<0.001), and having knowledge of the cultural underpinnings and  regions  where FGC is practiced (p<0.05) Most respondents (81%) reported a desire for  additional education on FGC, specifically, counseling and technical guidelines on the  clinical/surgical management of FGC. Approximately one – fifth of respondents added they were  eager to learn of the study results, as they felt FGC was an important topic that was not  adequately addressed in today’s clinical practice.

Conclusion: Despite the recognized need for training and the availability of educational tools,  gaps appear to s till exist in postgraduate training programs regarding the provision of adequate didactics on the clinical evaluation and subsequent care of FGC – affected populations. There is  also a general lack of knowledge and lack of confidence that persists, particularly regarding  surgical defibulation techniques. Our data indicate that exposure to FGC training materials, as  well as direct clinical care encounters with FGC – affected patients, does predict increased  knowledge and resultant clinical competency in the provision of medical care to FGC – affected  populations.