Dr. Kathleen Digre and Dr. Caren Frost join Dr. Kirtly Parker Jones to discuss strategies for talking with your doctor about your overall health, as well as a simple online tool you can use for a quick holistic checkup at 7domainsofhealth.org.">

Oct 21, 2016 — Many women take a more holistic approach to their health, including aspects of emotional and social wellness into account. But is your doctor taking into account the whole picture of your health? Dr. Kathleen Digre and Dr. Caren Frost join Dr. Kirtly Parker Jones to discuss strategies for talking with your doctor about your overall health, as well as a simple online tool you can use for a quick holistic checkup at 7domainsofhealth.org.

Interview

Dr. Jones: You know that to feel really healthy, all the parts of your life have to be pretty healthy. This is how many women think holistically about wellness. And this is Dr. Kirtly Jones from Obstetrics and Gynecology at University of Utah Healthcare and we're talking about "How to Get a Checkup on Your Seven Domains of Health" here on The Scope.

Announcer: Covering all aspects of women's health, this is the Seven Domains of Women's Health with Dr. Kirtly Jones on The Scope.

Dr. Jones: The Center of Excellence of Women's Health at the University of Utah is committed to the many domains of women's health: physical, emotional, social, intellectual, that's us, financial, environmental, and spiritual. Today in The Scope studio, we have Dr. Kathleen Digre, Professor of Neurology and Director of the Center of Excellence of Women's Health, and Dr. Caren Frost from the College of Social Work. They're going to help us get a seven domain checkup. Welcome, Kathleen and Caren.

Kathleen, we'll start with you. What have women told us about the seven domains?

Dr. Digre: Well, I think the seven domains of health is a concept that resonates with women because women have to take care of an entire family, they have to be in-charge of themselves as well as a significant other, and often children.

Dr. Jones: Good. And Caren, you work with refugees because you're now director of the Refugee Center and you understand that people actually from other cultures get this even better than we do here at the University of Utah Healthcare, huh?

Dr. Frost: Yes, exactly. We ran some workshops with some women and we had our Circle of Health, translated into two or three different languages. And when we ran a group that women spoke from primarily Swahili, they were looking at the seven domains of health, the circle, and they said, "That's it. That's exactly what health means."

Dr. Jones: Good. Well, I know I can measure my blood pressure but how can I assess the health of my other domains?

Dr. Digre: Well, I'm glad you asked that question because we do have a tool called the 7domainsofhealth.org tool and you can go into this website. We at the Center of Excellence work together and Caren was really one of the major players in this in establishing vetted questionnaires that will help us test our seven domains of health.

Dr. Jones: Okay. So I go to the 7, that's the number 7domainsofhealth.org, and I see this nice round circle with seven pieces of pie, so it's hard to get seven equally. I could do six or eight's best but there's seven. So I click on one of those pieces of pie and I do the questionnaire, what happens if I'm not so healthy in one of my domains? What do I do about it? Caren, maybe you can help with that.

Dr. Frost: So I've had students in my "Issues in Women's Health" class take this as an extra credit assignment and finally as a final assignment, and then asked them to summarize what they understood from this survey, this tool that we've had them use. And students, of course, had realized that they're falling off the shelf on one of the domains. Usually, it's the financial domain. Sometimes, it's the spiritual domain. And so what it says at the end of the survey is, "Here are things you need to consider. Here are links to different opportunities or resources that you might want to look at so that you can think about how to manage where you're falling short."

Dr. Jones: Well, thinking about the financial domain, even women with significant financial resources or money in the bank in their household may actually not know much about it or how to manage it so even though they know that their partner's bringing in money, they don't know about exactly how to manage it. Or when we say spirituality, we don't necessarily mean religiosity. But that sense of being part of something bigger, that sense that we can feel in our chest when we're attached but maybe being able to access that is not so easy.

Dr. Digre: Well, I would say that's exactly right and that's why at the end of each of these sections which you get three colors: green means you're good to go in that domain of health, yellow means "Well, you might want to work on it," and red means "Whoa, let's reconsider and think about this and then check out the resources that we have at the end of each of these domains in order to further improve that domain of health."

Dr. Jones: That part of your health, right.

Dr. Frost: Yeah, I was just going to say and one of the other things that we mention on our website is that you ought to be talking to your healthcare provider about your seven domains of health. And so, making sure that if you take this and you have questions that your healthcare provider is aware that you're feeling a little, "I think I need some help on this area," this is one way we're connecting it back to healthcare.

Dr. Jones: Right. Although I would say that I'm always grateful when my patient says, "Well, I know that I'm fertile and my periods are normal, but I have been so worried when the air quality around here gets awful. I get really depressed and my eyes start to itch and I start to cough," and I'm a gynecologist but at least I say, "Yes, and I don't know what to do about it but let's work on it together," but I could have gone right to the seven domains and said, "Well, let's think about doing this."

Well, can this be used for women of all ages? Is this something that . . . When would you say, "What's the earliest?" Should you type it in for your 2-year-old, or your 10-year-old, or your 22-year-old? Tell us about the ages for the seven domains test.

Dr. Digre: Well, I personally would say it's anybody who can read and sort of understand their health. And that might be different for each person, like some people will be very literate in health by the age of 15 or 16, and some may need a little bit more time. And it isn't age-specific. And while we were thinking of women when we did this, I don't think it is even gender-specific.

Dr. Jones: Oh, well, let's talk about this, Caren.

Dr. Frost: Actually, I'm just going to follow up to something that Kathleen said. I think that the younger that we get, our daughters, nieces, cousins, everybody involved in thinking about this, the more literate they're going to be about their healthcare. So I think the sooner we can get people looking at this kind of tool, the better off we're all going to be. And I agree. That can be women but men should also be doing this too.

Dr. Jones: Right. And when I think about the seven domains, there's nothing about those areas which we mentioned earlier in this little broadcast that men aren't . . . don't affect men too. Men's social environment affects them, their intellectual sense of wellness, their financial situation, of course. And although they don't talk about it, most the men I know a few, if you talk to them carefully, do want to have a sense of wonder about the world, their spirituality as well. So good for guys, although it says "Women" but a real guy could deal with it. Okay.

Dr. Digre: Absolutely.

Dr. Jones: Absolutely. So right now, what's good for all ages, and we have it in English, but maybe we can work on putting it into our next most common language which is texting . . . no, I didn't mean that . . . which is Spanish so we can actually reach out to more people in our community. That would be great.

So checkout the website, 7, that's the number 7domainsofhealth.org, and this is part of the University of Utah's reaching out for women in their wholeness of their health. Check out your own personal seven domains and thanks for joining us on The Scope.

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