Program to improve older women’s health earns Paster Award

The Mind Over Matter (MOM): Healthy Bowels, Healthy Bladder research team received the School of Medicine and Public Health’s 2021 Paster Family Foundation Innovation Award. The work was conducted under the leadership of Heidi Brown, MD, MAS, assistant professor of obstetrics of gynecology.

The annual Paster Award recognizes and encourages innovative discoveries that advance human health. It is open to any employee — faculty, staff, or student employee — from SMPH, UW Health, or the William S. Middleton Veterans Memorial Hospital (VA). It. It aims to lift up projects with the potential to improve the lives of people in Wisconsin, the United States, and across the globe. The award directs $5,000 to the winning innovation each year.

A group of people that are the team behind Mind Over Matter (MOM): Healthy Bowels, Healthy Bladder
The Mind Over Matter (MOM): Healthy Bowels, Healthy Bladder team

The Mind Over Matter team created and disseminated an evidence-based self-management program for older women with bladder and/or bowel leakage. It is the first and only evidence-based program in the country that improves bladder and bowel symptoms in older women and is recognized by the National Council on Aging. This means that community organizations can use Older Americans Act funding to implement the program. The Wisconsin Partnership Program provided vital support for the research behind the Mind Over Matter program.

Although a widespread and serious health problem, the outreach team says many affected women do not seek care because of embarrassment and lack of knowledge about solutions. Before resorting to medication or surgery, the Mind Over Matter program helps women learn pelvic floor muscle exercises (Kegels) and introduces dietary changes that may improve symptoms.

In partnership with the Wisconsin Institute for Healthy Aging, they have brought 60 workshops to more than 500 participants across 25 Wisconsin counties since implementing the program in 2019. Five states outside of Wisconsin are now licensed to disseminate the program.

“Our research team is honored to have Mind Over Matter: Healthy Bowels, Healthy Bladder selected as the 2021 recipient of this award,” says research specialist Madeline Moureau on behalf of the winning research team. “Our team plans on applying this award toward our current goal of understanding how to best support the needs of Wisconsin communities that are not currently reached by our program.”