awareness_month_bannerEndo What?, the groundbreaking documentary about endometriosis, premiered in March 2016 to mark Endometriosis Awareness Month. Menstruation Matters reviewed the film on March 31, 2016, under the headline Endo What? documentary sets the record straight about endometriosis.” Since last March the acclaimed film has screened worldwide.

This March, the team behind the film–spearheaded by director/producer Shannon Cohn–is launching the School Nurse Initiative. The goal is to provide a toolkit to school nurses across the United States to help educate their students and the school community about the disease. The key message of both the documentary and the School Nurse Initiative, is the importance of early diagnosis and access to effective treatment.

School Nurse Initiative

The Centre for Endometriosis Care is partnering with the Endo What? team to get the campaign rolling. With CEC’s support, nurses in 150 schools will receive educational toolkits with the potential to reach 15,000 students. Dr. Ken Sinervo, CEC’s Medical Director and renowned endometriosis expert, spoke about the Center’s support in a Press Release issued March 1, 2017:

Unfortunately, many individuals see far too many doctors and sub-specialists before they are correctly diagnosed, having been dismissed along the way, and their pain blamed on bad cramps. But so-called bad cramps don’t keep you out of work or school—badcramps, in association with other symptoms like chronic pelvic pain, painful intercourse, backache, painful bowel and bladder symptoms and more, on the other hand, are very suggestive of endometriosis. Getting early diagnosis and effective treatment are the most important steps towards successful management—recognizing signs and symptoms early on could help prevent a vicious cycle of years of misdiagnosis and poor treatments.

School nurses play a crucial role in recognizing early signs of the disease in their students. Through this important collaboration with the Endo What? team, we can provide critical information about endometriosis along with important resources that could even change the life of a student suffering in silence.

Efforts like the School Nurse Initiative to support early diagnosis are badly needed. Individuals with endometriosis wait an average of 10 years before receiving an accurate diagnosis. The disease is estimated to affect one in 10 women, and 176 million individuals worldwide.

For more information on the School Nurse Initiative and how you can support it, visit

Laura Wershler is a veteran sexual and reproductive health advocate and writer, SMCR member, and editor-in-chief of Menstruation Matters.

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