December 4, 2019
Editor’s Note: The FACTS Advisory Council consists of a talented and diverse group of individuals whose guidance and support are crucial to the success of our organization. Being a member of our Advisory Council is a voluntary position and their work with FACTS is a generous contribution of time and expertise. This year, we have featured one of our Council members each month to highlight their unique contributions to our mission. Our series continues as we welcome Summer Holmes Mason, MD as the newest member of the FACTS Advisory Council. We value her contributions to FACTS Research and her passion to educate women, couples, and medical professionals about the practical applications of fertility awareness based methods (FABMs).
Meet Summer Holmes Mason, MD
Dr. Holmes Mason is a Board-certified obstetrician gynecologist. In 2006, she graduated from the Pennsylvania State University with degrees in Spanish and General Science. She subsequently attended the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, NY and earned her medical degree in 2010. She completed residency in obstetrics & gynecology (OB/Gyn) at the University of Maryland Medical Systems in Baltimore, MD, where she was appointed Residency Education Chief during her final year of residency.
She completed FEMM (Fertility Education and Medical Management) training and, in 2018, further expanded her toolkit by completing the FEMM Teacher Training course. Since learning about FACTS, she attended our CME conference in Cleveland, OH and has participated in our research study to test a Shared Decision-Making Tool we developed for use in patient care. We plan to complete this study in 2020.
Her Path to FACTS
A few years into medical practice, Dr. Holmes Mason grew increasingly frustrated with the frequency of side effects from birth control her patients experienced, often cycling through five or six different ones, and still unhappy. As an OB/Gyn physician, she had been seeking alternatives for her patients and couples who wanted or needed a different approach. She first heard about FABMs when Dr. Marguerite Duane, executive director and co-founder of FACTS, was a guest on the Fertility Friday podcast. She was thrilled to discover safe and effective choices to offer patients, and excited to learn more about each of the modern, evidence-based fertility awareness based methods.
Since then, Dr. Holmes Mason has supported FACTS both financially and in our efforts to educate medical professionals about the science behind FABMs. She brings a unique perspective with the ability to reach traditionally-trained OB/Gyn physicians and other women’s health professionals.
In Her Own Words
Dr. Holmes Mason credits FACTS for enabling her to expand her approach to gynecology. “I can use fertility awareness tools to support couples attempting to conceive and women who do not wish to use (or who cannot use) hormonal birth control in their treatment plan. FACTS is about options, and it is my duty to help women make informed decisions about their reproductive choices.”
She recognizes that in this age of information, “women (and men) are more health conscious than ever before and are seeking alternatives to hormonal contraception.” She also appreciates the many ways FABMs contribute to wellness.
Beyond their role in family planning, she explains, “FABMs also function like a menstrual diary and are an excellent wellness tool. Utilization enables early diagnosis of medical disorders whose first symptom is often ovulatory dysfunction, even before we recognize disease clinically. These methods also indicate whether or not an intervention is working to restore menstrual disturbances. FABMs allow a proactive approach to women’s health, and all women’s health professionals should be versed in the utility and reliability of these methods.”
Women’s Health and the Mission of FACTS
“FABMs highlight the fact that ovulation is a sign of health,” says Dr. Holmes Mason. This important aspect of the contribution of FABMs to women’s health is central to the vision driving FACTS: to change the culture of medicine so fertility is recognized as normal and healthy. She also appreciates the impact the mission of FACTS will have in women’s health care by enhancing medical education.
“Training more medical professionals (in fertility awareness and FABMs) will allow medicine to truly address how the 21st century lifestyle affects the female body and fertility. With this mindset, we can change the long-term course and prognosis of women at risk for certain cancers, osteoporosis, heart disease, and infertility. We don’t have to wait! Moreover, evidence is mounting that many of the same mechanisms that affect women’s fertility also affect men’s fertility. The FACTS mission complements the growing importance of nutrition and environmental health on medicine and primary prevention for women’s health.” As an OB/Gyn physician, Dr. Holmes Mason brings an important perspective to FACTS and to the field of fertility awareness while being uniquely positioned to impact women’s health and the field of obstetrics and gynecology. We are grateful to have her as an integral part of FACTS Research and the work of FACTS to educate medical professionals, and we are delighted to have her as a member of our Advisory Council.
More About Summer Holmes Mason, MD
Since 2014, Dr. Holmes Mason has worked in private practice in Wooster, OH. She has also served as an associate professor for the physician assistant program at Marietta College in Marietta, OH. She is a member of the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists and is currently pursuing additional studies in functional medicine.
Editor’s Note: Our Shared Decision-Making study is designed to evaluate the shared decision-making tool we developed to facilitate conversations between medical professionals and patients about their fertility awareness options. We are grateful for every medical professional who, along with Dr. Holmes Mason, has given of their time to make this study possible. Thank you, your support of FACTS helps us continue to conduct such vital research.
Our end-of-year campaign to give students the priceless Gift of Knowledge is underway! Educating students is the first step in training a new generation of medical professionals who recognize fertility as healthy and normal. Over time, we hope evidence-based FABMs will be integrated into women’s health curricula throughout the country. This means women will be empowered by learning more about their bodies and fertility, and couples will have more choices as they plan their families. Everyone wins!
• Your gift of $100 will enable a student to attend our 1-day educational conference.
• Your gift of $250 will support a student enrolled in our online elective.
• Your gift of $500 will cover the cost of a speaker to present to students.