Wooldridge Receives WHF Medical Activist Award
Committed. Courageous. Caring. These are words people use to describe Leslie Saltzstein Wooldridge, a women’s health advocate who, on Saturday, May 16, 2015, became the first nurse practitioner honored with a coveted Medical Activist Award from the Chicago-based Women’s Health Foundation (WHF).
According to the WHF, the Medical Activist Award “recognizes a healthcare professional who has broken down barriers or changed science in women's pelvic health." In a press release, Missy Lavender, Founder and Executive Director of WHC, called Leslie “a beacon of hope and inspiration for women struggling to find relief from various pelvic health issues.”
For nearly 30 years, Leslie has been raising the standard of care for patients, particularly those suffering from incontinence and overactive bladder (OAB). She has helped transform the lives of tens of thousands of people suffering from these debilitating conditions.
Leslie has researched, written and blogged extensively about OAB and the percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS) treatment delivered by the Urgent PC Neuromodulation System. Her work encompasses the exciting benefits of this OAB treatment, which affects some 42-million Americans. Urgent PC is an effective, office based OAB procedure that involves 12 initial treatments lasting 30 minutes each.
A Career of Accomplishment
Leslie began her career caring for those in dire need of help. “As a critical care nurse, you see total train-wrecks coming in, people that are near death and you nurse them to the point where they’re laughing and smiling,” she says.
Early on, the desire to make a difference led her to make an interesting request at the low income geriatric clinic where she started her nurse practitioner career in primary care. She wanted to establish an incontinence program. She says it was stunning to discover the “disconnect” between professionals and patients about the impact incontinence has on their lives. She forged ahead, trying virtually all available treatments, from drugs, to behavior modification, and later discovered Urgent PC.
After consulting with countless teachers, physicians, researchers and others – who she now thanks effusively – the Marquette University educated professional went into private practice nine and a half years ago and is ecstatic.
Over the past three decades, Leslie has amassed an impressive list of awards, including:
- Fellowship from the American Geriatric Society for work on incontinence in nursing homes.
- Care Champion Award from the National Association for Continence.
- Catherine-Ann Lawrence Literary Excellence Award for articles she published in Urologic Nursing, the official journal of the Society of Urologic Nurses and Associates.
A Passion for Changing Lives
While caring for patients with continence problems doesn’t deal with the same life and death situations as her early critical-care days, Leslie witnesses the life-changing impact of the incontinence treatments she offers every day as Director of the Michigan-based Mercy Health Bladder Clinic.
Leslie says she has seen Urgent PC drastically change lives. “I had a patient who was on her 8th PTNS treatment. I said, how are you doing? She said it’s difficult for me to figure out that I’m normal again and be able to adjust to being normal, this is amazing.” Leslie says that prior to her 8-weeks of treatment with Urgent PC, the 45-year-old woman had suffered with OAB for more than 10 years.
Part of Leslie’s passion is to educate people about what they can expect from their bodies and bladder as they age. “Incontinence and Overactive Bladder symptoms are not normal aging and that’s really one of the biggest misnomers out there,” she says. “People think that well I’m old, I’ve had a lot of babies, I’m fat and so you know, this is what I get, but it’s really not true, we’ve helped so many women get to a better place.”
“Leslie’s commitment to improving incontinence care for patients doesn’t stop with her own patients,” said Chris Gustilo, Sr. Marketing Manager at Cogentix Medical. “She is committed to helping other healthcare professionals become better in incontinence care by speaking at society meetings, holding courses on OAB care, and one-on-one mentoring. She is a tremendous resource for the clinical community.”
And so, this Geriatric Nurse Practitioner, certified in urology and pelvic floor muscle dysfunction, continues to focus on how she can help in the future. “As I move into the next phase of my life, one thing I’d really like to do is promote education, being in a community, and doing all of those things that can help people learn about their bodies and their pelvic health early on. If that means going to school and teaching teenagers, that’s where I’ll go.”
Urgent PC is indicated for the treatment of Overactive Bladder and associated symptoms of urinary urgency, urinary frequency and urge incontinence. Treatment with Urgent PC is contraindicated for patients with pacemakers or implantable defibrillators, patients prone to excessive bleeding, patients with nerve damage that could impact either percutaneous tibial nerve or pelvic floor function or patients who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant during the duration of the treatment. Most patients don't experience side-effects. If side-effects occur, they are typically temporary and include mild pain and skin inflammation at or near the stimulation site. Caution: Federal law (USA) restricts this device to sale by or on the order of a physician. For complete instructions for use, storage, warnings, indications, contraindications, precautions, adverse reactions and disclaimer of warranties, please refer to the insert accompanying each product or online at www.cogentixmedical.com. Urgent PC is a registered trademark of Cogentix Medical © 2015 Cogentix Medical. All rights reserved.