QMed Students Host Annual "Pap Party" Clinics in October
The following is a guest blog by Queen's Medicine students Melissa Lorenzo (Class of 2018), Katherine Rabicki and Lauren Wilson (Class of 2019).
Two years ago, in an interdisciplinary initiative promoting women’s health in Kingston, a number of Queen’s Medical Students hosted the inaugural Pap Party event. Set during Cervical Cancer Awareness Week in October, Pap Party is a free pap smear clinic run by medical students and physicians working with the Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario and Queen’s Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology (Ob/Gyn). With every passing year, under the guidance of Drs. Julie Francis (Gynaecologic Oncology) and Dr. Hugh Langley (Family Medicine), Pap Party has grown to become a series of clinics serving not only Kingston, but also Deseronto, Napanee, and Tyendinaga. Ultimately, the goal of Pap Party is to reach out to women, who may not otherwise have access to cervical cancer screening, to provide them with care and increase awareness of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).
Despite being a relatively young initiative, Pap Party has been successful over the past couple of years. Last year, 18% of the women screened during the free clinics were found to have an abnormal pap test requiring physician follow-up. In addition, the 2016 Pap Party was awarded the national title of “Project with the Most Interdisciplinary Collaboration” by the Society of Gynecologic Oncology of Canada (GOC) and Association of Academic Professionals in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (APOG).
This year, in conjunction with the Federation of Medical Women of Canada’s (FMWC) annual Pap Campaign, Pap Party will be in:
- Deseronto on October 16th, 5:30 pm-7:30 pm
- Kingston (Kingston Health Sciences Centre - Kingston General Hospital site, Burr 2) on October 17th, 5:30 pm-7:30 pm
- Napanee on October 18th, 5:30 pm-7:30 pm
- Tyendinaga on October 19th, 5:30 pm-7:30 pm
The clinics will be overseen by Dr. Francis, and staffed by medical students and Ob/Gyn residents from Queen’s University. In an effort to reach marginalized populations and patients without a family physician, any woman between the ages of 21 - 70, with or without a health card, is eligible and encouraged to attend.
In an effort to expand Pap Party further and combat declining cervical cancer screening rates, we’ve reached out to all primary care clinics in the Kingston area encouraging them to host their own pap smear clinics during Cervical Cancer Awareness Week. Clinics that register with the FMWC receive a kit that includes a tip sheet, colour poster, news release template, and patient education brochures. By hosting their own Pap clinics, physicians will be able to not only screen women, but also offer the HPV vaccine.
Interested in hosting your own Pap Party and helping us make cervical cancer rates zero? Hoping to find a clinic near you? Just seeking more information in general? Register your clinic and find more information here: https://fmwc.ca/events/pap-campaign/.
Otherwise, please help us spread the word and encourage women to come out to our clinics. Thanks for taking the time to read, please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about Pap Party. As a team, we’re excitedly continuing our work towards reducing cervical cancer rates to zero!