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In February and March 2021, we worked together with medical and pharmacy students from Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) to create a policy brief targeting policymakers, politicians, and lawmakers.
Specifically, the topic covered in the policy brief would be the urgent need for updated guidelines and awareness of the complications of monochorionic twins, with specific reference to Twin Anemia Polycythemia Sequence (TAPS).
Over several meetings, the NEOMED team (consisting of Alexandra Brooks, Gerald Crutchfield, Leila Jugo, Joshua Luchinsky, Kristina Monteleone, Anamika Sing, and Alex Tang), combined with Dr. Rebecca Fischbein of NEOMED, and Stephanie Ernst of The TAPS Support Foundation, discussed the relevant issues to the topic. They provided insights into the challenges patients, and advocacy groups faced when faced with screening protocols for monochorionic twins. The NEOMED students reviewed the current published literature surrounding TAPS diagnostic criteria, monitoring guidelines for twin pregnancies, and treatment options. Alex Brooks, the team leader, and 2nd-year medical student stated:
“I can’t believe the lack of TAPS guidelines and awareness in the medical community. Even as a medical student, I was completely unaware of TAPS as a potential complication of monochorionic twin pregnancies.”
The NEOMED team took this information and drafted a policy brief, which they brought back to a final meeting. The brief (included below) identified three key policy alternatives to improve the early identification of TAPS through fetal monitoring and immediate referral to a maternal-fetal physician for specialized care. Students could then contact their state representatives to begin a conversation about changing the guidelines.
On reflection, Alex Brooks is grateful that NEOMED facilitated our partnership with the TAPS Support Foundation and provided the opportunity for students to work with leaders in this field. As our clinical rotations begin in July, we hope to use this new knowledge to improve patient care and continue our discussion with legislators regarding improved TAPS guidelines on a national level.”
Once created, the policy brief can be presented to policymakers and legislators with the intent to make a change in the way monochorionic twins are screened and help revolutionize TAPS screening.
The TAPS Support Foundation was proud to support the students from NEOMED in this important project. You can read the resulting policy brief below.