• Carolyn L. Westhoff MD

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    • Carolyn L. Westhoff, MD, is associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology and associate professor of public health (epidemiology) at Columbia University in New York City. She is also medical director of family planning at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York.

      Dr. Westhoff received a medical degree from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and a master's degree in epidemiology from the London (England) School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. An internship in medicine was completed at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan, and was followed by a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn. Additional postgraduate training includes a research fellowship at the University of Oxford, Department of Community Medicine and General Practice in Oxford, England.

      Dr. Westhoff has published extensively in the British Medical Journal, American Journal of Epidemiology, and Obstetrics and Gynecology. Topics include family planning, the safety and efficacy of various contraceptive methods, transvaginal sonographic characterization of ovarian pathology, and ovarian cancer screening.

      Dr. Westhoff is a recipient of the Elaine B. Lesser Award for Research in Gynecologic Oncology (1991–1992) from the New York Obstetrical Society and the Calderone Research Prize (1991) from Columbia University School of Public Health. She is also associate editor of Contraception, an editorial board member of Dialogues in Contraception, and a Medical Advisory Committee chairman of Planned Parenthood of New York City. In February 1996 she spoke about “The IUD in Evolution” at a conference about IUDs sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Carolyn L. Westhoff, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and School of Public Health, Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, 630 W. 168th St., New York, NY 10032.


The need for effective, long-term contraception remains a significant issue. Intrauterine devices (IUDs) have evolved to the point where currently available devices are comparable, in safety and efficacy, to oral contraceptives. Due to concerns regarding previous devices, available IUDs remain largely underused by midwives and all other providers of reproductive health care. Recent medical data refute many of the medical-legal misconceptions. Currently available IUDs are safe and effective and represent a suitable contraceptive alternative for the appropriate patient.