May 6, 2021
In October, 2020, FACTS held its first-ever virtual conference, and it was a tremendous success! We had 180 registrants and the feedback was so positive, we decided to plan another virtual CME conference with all-new content and terrific speakers. This conference—Fertility Awareness: Expanding Care for Women’s Health—is coming up next week, May 14-15, 2021! Yes, there is still time to register!
With more than twenty years of experience in restorative women’s healthcare, Teresa Kenney, APRN is one of our highly anticipated speakers at next week’s conference, where she will discuss the role of fertility awareness in addressing common issues in adolescence. This month, we had the opportunity to interview her and learn how she first heard about fertility awareness-based methods (FABMs) and how she’s been able to make a difference in this growing field. Beyond her gifts as an engaging speaker, we appreciate her willingness to share her expertise through monthly case study discussions with the students and residents enrolled in the FACTS elective.
Meet Teresa Kenney, APRN
Teresa Kenney has been a women’s health nurse practitioner for over twenty years. She practices in Omaha, Nebraska at Sancta Familia Medical and specializes in women’s health care throughout the reproductive lifespan. She is a member of the American Academy of FertilityCare Professionals and currently serves on the national board of The Guiding Star Project, a national wholistic women’s health movement.
Her Journey to Fertility Awareness
Her path to FABMs and restorative women’s healthcare began with her personal story. “When I was in graduate school,” she recalls, “I was suffering with pretty miserable premenstrual syndrome (PMS), but I didn’t know it was PMS! I happened to do my clinical training with a doctor trained in NaproTechnology who used charting to diagnose women’s health issues. I learned to chart my cycle and finally realized all my symptoms were related to my menstrual cycle.
It was the first time I realized how little I knew about my body and how empowering it was to have education and self-awareness about my cycle, which enabled me to be proactive about my health.”
Kenney first heard of FACTS at a women’s health conference where medical and health professionals “gathered to discuss standards of care for women’s health that truly serve the dignity of women.” She added, “I knew instantly that FACTS was an invaluable organization, since more research about methods based on women’s biological fertility markers is key to gaining credibility in medical circles.” She also recognized that “knowledge of the science behind FABMs is essential to teach medical professionals that FABMs are effective and should be offered to women.”
Contributions to the FACTS Elective
In the fall of 2019, Dr. Marguerite Duane, cofounder of FACTS, began reviewing patients with Teresa Kenney for whom FABMs and a restorative approach would be particularly helpful. “After an enlightening conversation about ways these methods can help us improve women’s health,” recounts Dr. Duane, “I asked if she was open to having a monthly call to discuss cases and invite students to participate in this educational exchange of information.” Without hesitation, she said yes, and monthly case studies were incorporated into the FACTS elective.
A physician researcher and expert in restorative reproductive health, Dr. Joe Stanford, agreed to also participate in monthly case studies, and these interactive educational opportunities were instituted just in time. By January, 2020, online case discussions had become part of the fabric of the elective, so when the COVID-19 pandemic began, the FACTS team was able to transition to a fully online elective.
Dr. Duane appreciates Kenney’s vital role in starting these case studies. She describes her as “a highly effective speaker and educator who communicates information about fertility awareness in a way that makes it both accessible and interesting.” The online case studies are praised consistently by the students who participate in the FACTS elective.
FABMs and Charting in Adolescence: A Sneak Preview
Dr. Duane invited Kenney to speak at next week’s conference because of her “effectiveness at communicating how these methods work to identify the underlying root causes of common women’s health issues. She will address adolescence, an important and overlooked topic” where fertility awareness can have lifelong impact. Dr. Duane values “Teresa’s experience working with women of all ages and her ability to present this information in a straightforward way so women see the power of charting to help them understand their bodies.”
Fertility Awareness Enhances Women’s Health
When asked what has been most meaningful about this work, Kenney reflected on the opportunity to train others in FABMs and a restorative approach to women’s health. “To be able to introduce an alternative view of women’s health to a student who has only learned one way to see the woman’s body is a privilege.” Thoughtfully, she noted “this can only be comprehended when you see the light bulb go on, the questions being raised … and that moment when you know a person cannot ignore the truth that women deserve to know their cycle is truly a vital sign of health.”
Kenney is grateful for twenty years of “implementing NaproTechnology, a science in women’s health based in the Creighton Model System of Fertility charting. It allows me to treat the underlying root cause of women’s health issues instead of suppressing them with artificial hormones and treatments that are a band-aid instead of a real solution to real problems.”
She encourages students to “have an open mind and remember that science and healthcare are ever changing.” She emphasized the value of staying up-to-date with the latest research and listening for what patients need and are seeking when they pursue medical care. “Right now,” she noted, “women all over the world are asking for something more, something natural, something that gets to the root of their problems. If you don’t listen to them, they will find another doctor who will.”
Reflecting on her years in women’s health, she finds it rewarding to “sometimes be the last stop. Sometimes women have tried the suppressive artificial hormones and treatments for years and never found answers or a treatment that made them well. Knowing I made a difference in a patient’s life, that a woman found hope and a path forward that helped her health journey” enriches her life.
Kenney believes the future of FABMs is good, partly because the market is driving the need for this safe, effective, and natural approach. She also recognizes the need for more research and medical professionals trained in these methods, since more women want these alternatives but there are not enough medical professionals to meet the need.
“This is why FACTS matters,” she concluded. “If women are seeking this, the market is growing, and women deserve this (knowledge), then we have to train more medical professionals in the science (behind these methods). FACTS is a critical piece” to ensure women receive the medical care they want and deserve.
More About Teresa Kenney, APRN
Teresa Kenney previously worked for the St. Paul VI Institute and is a certified medical consultant in NaProTechnology. In 2020, she launched The Hormone Genius Podcast with co-host Jamie Rathjen; its goal is to inspire a new generation of women to be ‘the genius of their own hormones. She is married to Daniel and resides in Omaha with her husband and eight children.
We appreciate Teresa Kenney’s willingness to share her expertise and insights with FACTS.
Join us next weekend, May 14-15 for our Virtual Conference and hear her expand on the power of charting in adolescence.