Andrea O'Donnell
Marci Messerle Forbes

Registered Nurses
Center for Women's Health

My relationship with the medical establishment is tense at best: Clearly insurance is a hoax, right? And most of the pills and procedures they push make me feel like I'm starring in A Clockwork Orange. Still, I like to get fingered at least once a year by the pros, 'cuz while a woman's a lot more than the box ya come/cum in, the box is pretty darn important. I'd heard that un(der)insured people like myself occasionally resort to being guinea pigs to get basic health maintenance, and sometimes even get paid and receive free contraception. So when Heidi Printz of Oregon Health and Science University's Women's Health Research Unit boasted that she had five study coordinators who were "incredibly photogenic, passionate, and remarkably good at what they do," I decided to finally make the trip up to Pill Hill, where I met the lovely Marci and Andrea. While I did suffer minor fits of anxiety, their calm demeanors and warm professionalism put me (mostly) at ease.

How did you get into health research?

MARCI: We met working at Planned Parenthood. I'm a family nurse practitioner, but I've always been interested in women's health; then I became interested in the research side of things.

ANDREA: One thing I like about working in research is that we get to see our study patients for six to eight visits over the course of a year, so we get to establish more of a relationship with them than we do our private patients who we might see once a year.

What kind of studies do you have going on right now?

MARCI: There's an IUD study. We'll soon be enrolling for a menopausal study for a new treatment for hot flashes. Also, a study comparing the vaginal ring versus the pill.

Do particular studies get more of a response than others?

MARCI: When we were recruiting for the women's low-libido study, we were bombarded with phone calls. A lot of women suffer from low libido, and unfortunately what we're seeing is that women don't talk with their providers about it, so it's under-treated and under-diagnosed. I hope that our research can provide the information we need to successfully treat some of the sufferers.

Do you have a favorite birth control that you use or recommend?

BOTH: IUD. It's extremely effective, very low maintenance, and easy for patients.

Maybe I should enroll in the IUD study. I've heard the rhythm and pull-out methods aren't as reliable as I'd like to believe.

ANDREA: If you're interested we'd be happy to give you more information. Or you could check out our website: or call our recruitment line: 494-3666.