From Acrosome to Zygote: A New Lexicon of Reproductive Terminology
Cathryn Smeyers, MAT, program manager for the Center for Reproductive Research and co-director of the Women's Health Science Program, knows not everyone can tell her where or what the ampulla is.
In response to the jargon that often emanates in healthcare, the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine center created Repropedia, an online reproductive lexicon developed as a verified source of medical terminology for the average person.
Supported with the help of the Oncofertility Consortium, Repropedia grew out of an idea by Teresa Woodruff, PhD, director of the Institute for Women’s Health Research, and chief of obstetrics and gynecology-fertility preservation, to advance the medical school’s role as a worldwide leader in the field.
“Reproductive health and science is an important part of everyone’s life, and we felt that there was a lack of authoritative and easily digestible information available to the general public,” Smeyers said. “We set out to create a comprehensive, reproductive-focused lexicon to provide the public with words they can use to understand reproductive health and biology.”
The unique website was built around input from scientists and clinicians from around the globe. Starting with the initial concept of an online dictionary, Smeyers and Woodruff added images, video, and the Ask an Expert portion that allows users to submit a question or solicit additional information. The questions are then fielded by members of the Woodruff Lab.
“Our hope is that Repropedia will evolve and grow, ensuring that lay-friendly definitions can be developed for teaching high school students and for general use by the public,” Woodruff said. “We invite members of the reproductive science and health communities to share their expertise and contribute additional terms, images, or video clips to this important online resource.”