Northwestern Medicine Center for Sexual Medicine and Menopause


Northwestern Medicine Center for Sexual Medicine and menopause

The Center for Sexual Medicine and Menopause at Northwestern Memorial Hospital is a destination for women of all ages requiring highly specialized care. The Center is staffed by physicians, advanced practice nurses, physician assistants, physical therapists, and psychotherapists who work collaboratively with specialists from every branch of medicine. With numerous medical specialists our multidisciplinary team approach ensures more accurate diagnoses and delivers individualized care based on each woman’s unique needs.

​The Center for Sexual Medicine and Menopause is comprised of the following programs:

Once we have received your request for an appointment a coordinator will contact you to schedule an appointment and send you a questionnaire. This questionnaire must be filled out and returned prior to your first visit so that it may be reviewed by our clinical staff. If you are arriving from out of town, our coordinator can also connect you to the hospital concierge for hotel accommodations. 

For more information, please call 312.694.9676

Meet the Clinicians

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Lauren Streicher, MD, is the medical director of the Northwestern Medicine Center for Sexual Medicine and Menopause and oversees all center clinical, research and educational activities. She is Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Feinberg School of Medicine, a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a member of the Sexual Medicine Society of North America, Inc., The International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health, and The Scientific Network on Female Sexual Health and Cancer. She is also a Certified Menopause Practitioner of The North American Menopause Society.

​Dr. Streicher is the author of a comprehensive sexual and hormone health book: Sex Rx-Hormones, Health, and Your Best Sex Ever and The Essential Guide to Hysterectomy

In addition to her role as medical director of the Northwestern Medicine Center for Sexual Medicine and Menopause, Dr. Streicher sees patients as part of her Extended Care Program.      


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Traci Kurtzer, MD, brings with her over 25 years of clinical experience in menopause, sexual medicine, and vulvo-vaginal conditions. She is a Certified Menopause Practitioner of the North American Menopause Society and also a member of the International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease, and the National Vulvodynia Association. Dr. Kurtzer is currently the Medical Director of Trauma Informed Care and Education for the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and provides specialized gynecologic care to patients with a past history of sexual abuse, assault and medical trauma. She is a member of The Healthcare Committee of the Cook County Human Trafficking Task Force (CCHTTF) and the Cook County Trauma Informed Hospital Collaborative. She is a past president of The Chicago Gynecologic Society and trains medical professionals on intimate partner violence, human trafficking, the neurobiology of trauma and providing trauma informed medical care.

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Sarah Hwang, MD – As a specialist in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Dr. Hwang’s area of expertise is in complex pelvic pain, pelvic floor disorders and musculoskeletal pelvic pain. She is the Director of the Women’s Health Rehabilitation Program at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab and also serves on the Program Planning Committee for the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Dr. Hwang is a Fellow in the Academy Leadership Program.

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Kristi Tough DeSapri, MD – Director of the Northwestern Medicine Program for Women’s Bone Health, Dr. Tough DeSapri is a board-certified internal medicine specialist who completed a fellowship in women’s health at the Cleveland Clinic. She collaborates with primary care physicians and specialists to optimize care. Dr. Tough DeSapri is a member of and active contributor to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, Association of Bone Mineral Research and North American Menopause Society. She is also a certified clinical densitometrist with the International Society of Clinical Densitometry.

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Patricia Handler, MSN, FNP-C, is a Family Nurse Practitioner in the Center for Sexual Medicine and Menopause.  She has many years of experience in women’s health including labor and delivery, contraceptive research and reproductive endocrinology.  Ms. Handler completed a certificate program in Sex Counseling from the University of Michigan. She is a Certified Menopause Practitioner of The North American Menopause Society. She is a member of the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health, The National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health’s (NPWH), and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists


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Audrey Fenwick, MS, PA-C, Prior to receiving her Physician Assistant degree, Ms. Fenwick worked extensively in the field of menopausal and contraceptive health with a significant focus on health education. Audrey previously held a position with Northwestern University’s Division of Obstetrics and Gynecology working in women’s health research. She is a graduate of the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science with a degree in Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS).  She received her undergraduate degree in 2010 from Indiana University in Bloomington. Audrey is a member of The North American Menopause Society and the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health. She is also a Certified Menopause Practitioner of The North American Menopause Society.


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Jennifer Levy, MA, LCPC, is a licensed clinical professional counselor who received her Masters in Counseling Psychology from Northwestern University and completed a certificate program in Sex Therapy from the University of Michigan. She has expertise working with women and couples across the lifespan around issues of low sexual desire, desire discrepancy, infidelity and concerns regarding sexual functioning and changes due to menopause, aging and illness. With over 15 years of women’s health experience, Ms. Levy also specializes in the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders, relationship patterns, conflict, grief and loss that often underlie sexual concerns.


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Rachel Zar, MS, LMFT, is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist who holds a Masters in Marriage & Family Therapy from Northwestern University and a Certificate in Sex Education from the University of Michigan. She works with both individuals and couples, and clinical focuses include: sexual dysfunction or difficulty, low desire or desire discrepancies, coping with chronic pelvic pain, and general dating or relationship concerns. She offers a sex-positive and sex-inclusive approach, and she is an LGBTQ- and kink-affirmative clinician. She is a member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) and Kink & Poly Aware Chicago Therapists (KPACT).


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Shantae Williams, PT, DPT, graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology and went on to complete her Doctorate in physical therapy at Central Michigan University. Her areas of interest include male and female pelvic floor dysfunction, pregnancy- and postpartum-related pain, and general orthopaedics. She has completed her course work for the Certificate of Achievement in Pelvic Physical therapy (CAPP) from the American Physical Therapy Association Section on Women’s Health and is working on becoming a certified specialist in this area. Shantae has a special interest in chronic pelvic pain, incontinence and bowel dysfunction and takes a holistic and comprehensive approach in treating her patients. 


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Andrea Shemesh, PT, graduated from Tel Aviv University with a Bachelor in Physical Therapy degree and started her career practicing in orthopaedic outpatient settings. She continued specializing in integrative and holistic approaches that she incorporated in her practice, among them are: craniosacral therapy, visceral manipulation, and strain-counter strain through the International Association of Health Education in Florida. Andrea started developing her passion in treating all pelvic floor conditions and enhancing her skills through continuing education with the Herman and Wallace Rehabilitation Institute, combining her experience and knowledge in the orthopaedic field and holistic fields with pelvic floor rehabilitation of both females and males. Her clinical interests are in treating all pelvic floor dysfunctions (bowel and bladder dysfunctions that include urinary and fecal incontinence, urinary urgency /frequency, painful bladder syndrome, pelvic organ prolapse and post-partum musculoskeletal issues). Her passion lies in treating chronic pelvic floor pain. Andrea is a member of the APTA Women’s Health chapter and IAHE. 


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Toshiko Odaira, PT, graduated from Bates College in Lewiston, ME with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in 2006. She received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree in 2014 from CUNY Graduate Center/Hunter College, located in New York, NY. Her career in physical therapy began in an outpatient orthopaedic clinic in Chicago, IL, where she trained in functional manual therapy and took extensive coursework with the Institute of Physical Art. As her interest in women’s health grew, she began taking coursework through the Herman and Wallace Pelvic Rehabilitation Institute. Toshi applies functional manual therapy, dry needling, patient education on pain science and various home exercise programs to her treatment sessions, guiding patients toward recovery and healing through a holistic approach. Toshi’s clinical interests are chronic pelvic pain, neurodynamic dysfunction, sexual dysfunction and bowel/bladder dysfunction. She is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association Section on Women’s Health and Section on Orthopaedics. 


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