Ob/Gyn Dispatches During COVID-19: Carolyn Westhoff, MD

April 14, 2020

Each day during the COVID-19 crisis, we'll share an update from a member of our team in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Today's note is from Carolyn Westhoff, MD, MSc, Chief of the Division of Family Planning and Preventive Services at NYP/CUIMC.


Obstetrician-gynecologists know that sexual and reproductive health services are not "elective." Tragically, some states around the U.S. are using the COVID-19 crisis to further restrict, and in some cases even eliminate, reproductive healthcare. But in a time of crisis, access to contraception and abortion care remain more important than ever. Our family planning division remains steadfast in our commitment to offer these basic, critical services.  

The pandemic brings many obstacles. Our patients now navigate the risks of pregnancy in a time of limited transportation to doctors offices, loss of jobs, loss of income, and more. We are thinking through how to keep birth control supplies available with all of those challenges as they evolve. We had already implemented video visits for our patients in recent months, and this approach is now especially valuable to keep our patients safe with up to date with prescriptions and treatments.   

At Columbia and around the country, our colleagues are generously sharing their ideas and new protocols so we can help each other provide the best care during this challenging time.   We are proud that New York City and State prioritize comprehensive women's health, even during a pandemic.  

Carolyn Westhoff, MD, MSc