The Midwives' Cauldron

An interview with Professor Helen O'connell - talking all things clitoris.

May 25, 2022 Katie James, Dr Rachel Reed and prof Helen O'Connell Season 3 Episode 12
The Midwives' Cauldron
An interview with Professor Helen O'connell - talking all things clitoris.
Show Notes

In this episode we have Professor Helen O'Connell and we are talking all things clitoris!
Professor O'Connell was elected Vice -President of USANZ in 2021. She was the first female Urologist in Australia and New Zealand, completing training in Melbourne in 1993 followed by a Fellowship in Female and Functional Urology in Houston, USA in 1994-5. Her doctoral studies in female pelvic anatomy have achieved international renown leading to significant conceptual changes in both medical and lay literature. Her higher degrees were conferred at the University of Melbourne where she became Professor in 2013 and Head of Department of Urology and Surgery in 2016. 
In 2014 Professor O'Connell became a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, completing its diploma in 2011 whilst a director for the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand. In 2019 she led a successful Australian Government bid to establish the Australasian Pelvic Floor Procedure Registry to improve the outcomes associated with mesh SUI and POP implantation and explantation procedures. It is a collaborative effort with Monash University Registries, the Australian Commission for Quality and Safety in Health Care, the Therapeutic Goods Administration and leading pelvic floor surgeons and consumers. 
She has been Principal investigator on a large number of clinical trials for drugs and devices for overactive bladder, stress incontinence in men and women and benign prostatic hyperplasia. Her current clinical interests are native tissue pelvic floor repairs, minimally invasive approaches to pelvic floor mesh removal and benign prostate surgery. 
In 2021 Professor O'Connell was named an Officer (AO) in the Order of Australia: For distinguished service to medical education, and to medicine, in the field of urology, as an academic and clinician, and to professional groups.
We asked Professor O'Connell to come and talk to us specifically about the clitoris in all it’s glory. We learn about how medical training used to use pornographic images of the breast to teach anatomy. We discuss the nerves of the clitoris, what the anatomy textbooks don't tell us... Yet! Rachel ends up telling us about her broken clitoris! We ask about labiaplasty & FGM (female genital mutilation) and its potential impact on vulval stretching during birth. And how cultural sensitivity is essential to reframing our viewpoints. And we also ask Professor O’Connell how her work has influenced artists, sex therapists and academics in how we now approach things such as orgasm and our deeper female sexuality. And as Professor O’Connell quotes in the podcast "you are not literate until you are clitarate". 

LINKS:
Prof Helen O'Connell
Dr. Rachel Reed website, courses and books

Mentioned in the show:
SMH article - Get cliterate: how a Melbourne doctor is redefining female sexuality
Giant infaltable clitoris facing Eiffel Tower
Sophia Wallace art
Book - Female Genital Mutilation

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