An estimated 228,000 women and girls in the United States have undergone or are at risk for female genital cutting (FGC), also known as female circumcision or female genital mutilation. The African Women's Health Center (AWHC) at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) is the country’s only center of its kind that provides culturally and linguistically appropriate obstetric, gynecologic and reproductive health care to African immigrants and refugees. We mainly provide health care to women from Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia and Nigeria, and 90 percent have undergone FGC.
Led by Nawal M. Nour, MD, MPH, our multicultural and multilingual team of physicians, nurses, social workers, nutritionists and psychiatrists focuses on both the physical and emotional needs of women who have undergone FGC. We provide access, understanding and community to women who have suffered long-term complications from this tradition and seek access to improved reproductive health care. Our center provides a vast range of health care services, including reproductive health, obstetrics, gynecology, defibulation procedures (FGC scar reconstruction) and care for pregnant women with diabetes, hypertension and thyroid disease.
Why Brigham and Women’s Hospital for African Women’s Health?
- We are the first and only African health practice in the United States that focuses on issues regarding female circumcision.
- Our center is part of the BWH Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, a world leader in women’s health.
- We provide a multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, social workers, nutritionists and psychiatrists who speak numerous African languages, in addition to female medical interpreters when needed and translated patient education materials.
- One of the United States’ leading experts in FCG, center director Nawal M. Nour, MD, MPH, actively researches the health and policy issues regarding FGC and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the American Medical Women’s Association’s Lila A. Wallis Women's Health Award and the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. Our surgical team pioneered a reconstructive procedure that can alleviate some of the negative effects of FGC, such as urinary tract infections, painful menstrual periods, painful sexual intercourse, and difficulty conceiving and giving birth.
- Committed to the eradication of FGC, we conduct workshops across the country to educate health care providers on the cultural, health, and legal issues pertaining to the practice so that patients feel comfortable with the care they receive.