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Helen O. Dickens Center for Women

Helen O. Dickens Center for Women

Catherine R. Salva, MD
Medical Director, Helen O. Dickens Center for Women

Helen O. Dickens Center for Women's Health
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

3400 Spruce Street
First Floor Gates Building
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Phone: (215)662-2730
Fax: (215)349-5224

The Helen O. Dickens Center for Women's Health is an ambulatory site of the Clinical Practices of the University of Pennsylvania, the Center is committed to providing the highest level of comprehensive gynecological and obstetrical care and education to women within the Philadelphia community through every stage of their lives. The Center serves as an educational training site for our medical and nursing students, and our residency training program. The Center also supports research projects and subject recruitment opportunities that contribute to the expansion of the scientific body of knowledge specifically related to women.

With committed faculty supervision, OB/GYN residents, nurse practitioners and midwives work in collaboration with highly skilled nurses, social workers, dieticians and professional staff to sensitively meet the individualized needs of women. Recognizing the unique balance between the physical and psychosocial well being of women, the Center has established partnerships with city and community agencies, state funded programs and managed care organizations, to insure that women have access to and are referred to adjunct programs and services to address their unique educational, financial and/or psychosocial concerns.

The Helen O. Dickens Center offers three distinct service lines; Gynecology, Colposcopy and Obstetrical Services. One of the hallmark features of the Center is that all services are conveniently available in one location, enabling easy access to all services throughout a woman’s continuum of care. Equally appealing is that many of the Center staff have devoted their career to working within the Center, creating an environment for women that is personal and family centered.

Gynecology Service

The Gynecology Service is a program that is designed to address the dynamic reproductive health issues and concerns of middle age through older age women. With an emphasis on age appropriate preventative health screenings and referrals and the diagnosis and management of routine, complex and specialized gynecologic concerns and conditions, this program is tailored to meet the unique needs of women as they mature from reproductive to menopausal years. Focusing on health challenges that frequently present during this period of life, women are encouraged to actively participate in helping to define a management plan that best suits their lifestyles while thoroughly addressing their related health care concerns. With the expertise of a highly skilled OB/GYN medical team, medical treatment modalities, and surgical interventions are thoroughly reviewed, discussed and offered. Should state of the art interventional radiology procedures be preferred for the treatment of specific conditions, the OB/GYN health care delivery team collaborates with the Department of Interventional Radiology to coordinate this treatment option. Focusing on insuring the highest quality of life for women as they mature, the Gynecology Service is committed to providing the education and services that are vital to a women’s overall well being.

Colposcopy Service

The Colposcopy Service is a specialty program designed to address the specific health care concerns of women who have been diagnosed with abnormal cervical, vulvar and/or vaginal pathology. As a specialty service line, this program offers services that can evaluate, diagnosis, monitor and treat the benign conditions of the lower genital track in addition to pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions. Building upon the strength of expertise among disciplines, the OB/GYN specialty team under the direction of Dr. Michelle Vichnin and in collaboration with physician specialists from the Department of Cytology and Surgical Pathology routinely hold interdisciplinary case conferences to discuss pathology findings and to make specific case management recommendations. After a thorough review of case findings, treatment and management options are presented and discussed individually with affected women. Offering a variety of treatment modalities including Cryosurgery, Laser, LOOP/LEEP, Cone Biopsy, and more invasive surgical interventions if necessary, the OB/GYN team excels not only at providing interventions but also at explaining and alleviating many of the associated stressors that women perceive when diagnosed with an abnormal finding.

Obstetrical Service

The Obstetrical Service is a comprehensive and multidisciplinary program that provides routine and high- risk obstetrical care to pregnant women of all ages. Based on the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, Healthy Beginnings Plus program, the care rendered through this service line seeks to create a positive prenatal experience for each woman while helping to reduce her risk of premature delivery. Distinct to the Healthy Beginnings Plus model of care, low income pregnant women may be eligible for medical assistance coverage during their course of their care. Through the Helen O. Dicken's Center, women who are ineligible for medical coverage, may be eligible for reduced fee and/or charity care. Focusing on the unique experience of pregnancy, the goal of the health care delivery team is to provide state of the art obstetrical care while optimizing the health and well being of both the mother and baby. Although routine obstetrical care is the cornerstone to this service line, women identified with high risk maternal and/or fetal conditions are diagnosed and managed at the Center during designated high-risk obstetrical sessions. Prenatal specialists from the Maternal Fetal Medicine practice and OB/GYN faculty specializing in genetics, infectious diseases and other related specialty services staff the high-risk obstetrical sessions. Antenatal testing and triage evaluation is conveniently located within close proximity to the Center. Supporting Penn's commitment to serve women within the surrounding community, the Center's prenatal team also provides routine obstetrical care at Health Center #3, which is one of the City of Philadelphia's public health centers. Hallmark to the delivery of care in this program is the interdisciplinary approach to address not only the medical and obstetrical needs of women, but also the nutritional, psychosocial and educational concerns.  Dietary counseling and teaching, social work screening, interventions and referrals, smoking cessation counseling, prenatal, childbirth and parenting education, substance and drug use identification and referrals, and community based referrals to advocacy and educational programs highlight some of the comprehensive services that are offered through this program.  Integral to the success of this program is the role of the nurse care-coordinator who is responsible for the overall management and oversight of a woman’s prenatal course in addition to providing education and support.

As advocates for women’s health and as a leader in women’s health care, the Helen O. Dickens’s Center for Women offers a full-range of services and programs which are enhanced by a skilled and compassionate team of health care professionals with proven experience in the delivery of outstanding care.

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