What is a GTA?
A Gynecological Teaching Associate (GTA) is a trained medical educator who uses their own body as a tool for teaching medical students how to perform pelvic exams so that the experience will not be traumatic for future patients or intimidating for the practitioners. For a couple of hours, a GTA uses their body to guide medical students through the entire process of performing a thorough pelvic exam: a visual exam (checking for any lumps or bumps), a speculum exam (confidently guiding in the duckbill), a bi-manual (hello, ovaries!), and a rectal exam (every pelvic exam is supposed to include a rectal screening, but this is shyly skipped in most visits to the gynecologist). The GTAs coach medical students on their clinical skills and give “hands on” instruction, as well as comments on technique, language, and overall approach.
Who are the people who become GTAs?
This job is not recommended for someone who is just strapped for cash. A person must be healthy—both mentally and physically—to handle this work. It can be draining and sometimes extremely difficult to endure. However, there are compelling reasons why people get involved. Some view it as a form of public service. Others want to work within the medical field, or enjoy the teaching aspect. There are also those who regard GTA work as a form of activism, promoting sex-positive health care.
How does one become a GTA?
It depends on where you go! Some medical schools offer paid trainings for people who will work specifically for them as GTAs, and there are not many standalone training and certification programs. Regardless of location, though, becoming a GTA involves receiving training on how to experience a pelvic exam and be able to provide helpful feedback to learners.
The CSPH Offers Trainings!
We are currently planning our Fall GTA Training, which will be a full-day training taking place on a TBA date from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (with breaks!) at the Women’s Medical Center of RI in Cranston, RI.
Training and Materials:
Megan Andelloux, a board-certified sexologist and sex educator, teaches both the ins and outs of a comprehensive physical exam (including breast examination and an optional rectal examination) and the communication skills necessary to give proper feedback when training providers, as well as a sample curriculum/syllabus for training providers in reducing patient anxiety, performing competent and sensitive exams, and more. This knowledge will help aspiring GTAs develop the skills and gain the knowledge necessary to provide effective instruction as well as understand pelvic exams they themselves might undergo with their OBGYNs. Here is a sample syllabus on pelvic exam training from Project Prepare that is the kind of training GTAs would give to providers.
The training will consist of a theoretical portion and a practical applications portion (where each person will see, perform, and receive a pelvic exam).
Handouts and materials will be provided.
Not only will participants be trained, but upon successful completion of the course, The CSPH will have them on-list whenever providers request names of GTAs for trainings at their medical schools and/or clinics.
The cost of this training is $150 dollars, which covers materials, staff-time, and more. Financial assistance is available to those with need (inquire for more information).
The Women’s Medical Center of RI is located at 1725 Broad St., Cranston, RI 02905.
It is accessible via bus line #1 (if you take bus #42 from Pawtucket or Thayer, it turns into the 1 after it hits Kennedy Plaza).
Parking is available.
For more information or to register for the training, contact us at email@example.com!