August 5, 2021
Editor’s Note: Since its inception in 2010, FACTS has relied on the generous support of our benefactors who recognize the importance of fertility awareness and value the work of FACTS. In the coming months, we will feature some of our regular donors to thank them for their financial contributions as well as the encouragement they provide through their kindness and generosity. This month we introduce Dr. Donna Chacko, a retired physician and author who donates consistently to the work of FACTS.
Meet Donna Chacko, MD
Dr. Donna Chacko describes herself as a “daughter, sister, wife, doctor, mother, grandmother… in that order.” She was born and raised in Portland, Oregon along with her twin brother and older brother. She attended college in Oregon, married, and started medical school at the University of California, Davis. After completing their professional training, the couple settled in St. Petersburg, Florida, where they raised their three daughters.
Dr. Chacko practiced radiation oncology for nearly twenty years, and this was followed by a significant transition in her life. After her husband died, she left radiation oncology to begin a three-year family medicine residency. This bold change would enable her to pursue her calling to care for the poor as a primary care physician. She moved to Washington, DC, where she worked in a community health center and at a medical recovery facility for the homeless. She retired from clinical medicine in 2013 and now lives in Maryland with her second husband.
In 2014, Dr. Chacko founded Serenity and Health, a ministry to promote health of body, mind, and spirit. Her first book, Pilgrimage: A Doctor’s Healing Journey, released last month. We are grateful for her invaluable support of the important work of FACTS.
An Interview with Donna Chacko, MD
How did you first learn about FACTS?
“I learned about FACTS from Dr. Marguerite Duane, its co-founder. We have been close friends since the early 2000s when we worked as colleagues at the community health center in Washington, DC. She talked with me about FACTS when it was still in its gestation and through its birth process. Through these conversations, I learned about Marguerite’s passion for helping educate the medical community about fertility awareness and natural family planning.
“FACTS programs educate medical professionals so they can better understand fertility and the menstrual cycle. By being informed, these health care professionals can empower their patients to understand and value their own reproductive physiology. This will help women deal with medical issues related to hormones and menses and, critically, understand their own cycles and when they are fertile. For those who desperately want children and those who prefer to avoid a pregnancy, this information is critical.”
How would knowledge of fertility awareness have impacted your career?
“My experience working as a family physician showed me that many women do not understand what their bodies are going through during monthly cycles. If I had FACTS training, I think I would have been a wiser and more sensitive doctor for my female patients during their procreative years.
“For the first half of my career I practiced radiation oncology and didn’t often deal with women’s health. Thinking back, I realize I knew very little about these issues… medical educators from my era had other priorities. Even though modern medical education is more inclusive than it used to be, I am certain FACTS fills gaps that still remain in the curriculum.”
What advice would you offer about fertility awareness and FABMs?
“I would recommend that all of us learn more about these subjects so we can cherish fertility as the awesome gift that it is. The more we all know about the relevant physiology, the better the health of all women and families will be.”
What else would you like to share with our readers?
“I am very excited to tell you that my first book, Pilgrimage: A Doctor’s Healing Journey, was just released. In this memoir, I share the story of desperation in my marriage, surrender, and then my path to health of body, mind, and spirit. I’m eager to share this path and show how abundant health is linked to faith, and available to all. To learn more and request a free copy of Chapter One, go to serenityandhealth.com/pilgrimage.”
More about Dr. Chacko
Dr. Chacko’s favorite pastimes include reading, gardening, walking, staying connected to family, visiting with friends, and watching Masterpiece Theater and NBA games with her husband.
Our donors make a difference!
Since the pandemic began, the demand for the FACTS online elective has steadily increased. During the 2020-21 academic year, 225 students completed our innovative elective. As the FACTS team prepares for the fall, the growing popularity of the FACTS elective on fertility awareness is evident. The support of our donors enables us to expand accordingly so we may continue to serve our students without turning anyone away.
Our team is grateful for monthly donors like Dr. Chacko who make our work possible so we may continue to reach medical professionals with up-to-date, evidence-based information about fertility awareness-based methods (FABMs).
Your generosity makes our work possible.
Your generous contribution enables us to educate and engage medical professionals and students by sharing the evidence supporting fertility awareness-based methods with them.
- $100 provides a scholarship for a student to attend a FACTS conference
- $250 covers the registration for a student to enroll in our elective
- $500 funds a FACTS speaker to educate students about FABMs
We appreciate all our donors. Thank you!
The FACTS CME Course is HERE!
The FACTS 4-part CME Course – Fertility Awareness Based Methods (FABMs) for Family Planning and Restorative Reproductive Women’s Healthcare prepares you as a medical professional to present more comprehensive options for family planning and women’s health monitoring and management of a range of reproductive health concerns. Through online lectures, live case study discussions, and readings, this course will explore the broad applications of modern Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (FABMs) and their role in pregnancy prevention, infertility, and women’s health.
The course is divided into four parts; you may elect to do any or all of them and they may be completed in any order. Each part is worth up to 14 AAFP-approved CME credits.
• Part A, An Introduction to Modern FABMs for Family Planning
• Part B, Special Topics in FABMs for Helping Couples Achieve or Avoid Pregnancy
• Part C, FABMs for Restorative Reproductive Medicine and at Various Stages of Life
• Part D, Medical Applications of FABMs
Click here to download the full lesson schedule for the course.