Female Genital Cutting: Clinical knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices from a Provider survey in the US

J Immigr Minor Health. 2019 Oct;21(5):954-964. doi: 10.1007/s10903-018-0833-3.


Migration from countries where female genital cutting (FGC) is practiced means women's healthcare providers need to meet this population's unique healthcare needs. We explored providers' FGC-related experience, knowledge of the cultural practice, prior training, attitudes towards medicalization, including reinfibulation, and clinical practice. An online, 53-question survey to a multidisciplinary sample of women's health providers in the US were recruited by email via professional organizations, medical departments, and the authors' professional networks. From a total of 508 usable surveys, nearly half of respondents did not receive formal FGC training, but a majority had cared for FGC-affected women in their practice. A 'know-do' gap existed with managing infibulated patients; and surgical defibulation procedures were not routinely offered. Most respondents (79%, n = 402) reported a desire for additional education. Women's healthcare providers in the US, regardless of disciplinary backgrounds, are inadequately prepared to meet the needs of FGC-affected women. To address these, FGC content needs to be embedded in educational and training curricula, and ongoing clinical mentorship made available.

Keywords: Defibulation; Female genital cutting; Healthcare professional training; Medicalization; Reinfibulation.

MeSH terms

  • Circumcision, Female* / ethnology
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Personnel / education
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicalization
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Women's Health