An Introduction to Elna McIntosh
Hello Mindful Connectors!
I hope you have all been keeping well and staying connected. I apologise that my blog posts have been far and in between- life has been keeping me oh so busy. But I love it! I would like to take this opportunity to introduce a very special individual to the Mindful Connections’ community. She is an outstanding woman, expert in her field, and an all-round lovely person. Some of you might have heard of her… and she has kindly offered to answer a few questions in each of my blogs and give her expert opinion regarding sexual health topics and issues. Please give a big round of applause to the one and only, Professor Elna McIntosh!
I introduced myself to Elna when I started on this wonderful journey of pursuing a career in sexual health and sexology. I have seen her as my mentor and absolute role model ever since. Not only does she have a brilliant mind, she has a caring heart that is always up for helping the struggling youngsters gunning for a career in the sexual health and education. I have probably been a pain in Elna’s backside for years- pestering her about ideas and questions on how to become a sexologist in South Africa, especially when the country does not legislatively recognise or regulate this profession. She has always encouraged me with enthusiasm to create opportunities for myself, especially when every door seemed to slam shut in my face. Elna has played a major role in helping me doing my own damn thing- Yaaas girl- and for that I will be forever grateful. Dankie Elna!
So now you might be wondering, if you don’t know already, who is this wonderful being I speak so highly of? Elna McIntosh is a registered nurse and renowned sexologist with a PhD in Human Sexuality from the Loyola University of Chicago and born South African. She is an accredited member of the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality and also holds a Masters in Public Health. Elna has been a Sexual Health Practitioner since 1983 and works as a sex-educator, a researcher, an author, a media personality/advocate for sexual and reproductive health rights. You might have seen her on telly, heard her on Kaya FM or read about her in various articles and magazines such as the Cosmopolitan. If that isn’t impressive enough, Elna currently runs her own Sexual and Reproductive Health Care clinic in Bryanston (Johannesburg) called DISA. Elna provides comprehensive services to women, from teenagers to menopausal women and has been an abortion provider since 1996.
So... as part of my blogs, I will be including a “Let’s ask Elna” section. This section as part of this blog will focus on the amazing woman herself and what she has learned over the years as sexual health practitioner and her advice to you.
Let’s ask Elna
What is your greatest health asset?
My greatest health asset is that I have been physically active from a very young age, and I still continue to exercise every day, just much slower. I don’t run anymore, but I love taking my dog for a walk.
What piece of valuable advice would you give to someone regarding their health?
The piece of life-changing health advice I can give is that early detection is a lifesaver. Do all the necessary checkups – no matter how you hate having a pap smear or a breast check/mammogram – and remember, after 50, colonoscopy as well!
What is the most important lesson you have learned regarding your health?
The health lesson I have learned that personally changed my life is that sex is a great time to check for lumps and bumps. Most breast lumps are found by lovers. My breast cancer was discovered by my lover and he saved my life. I have been a breast cancer survivor for 21 years.
Is there anything you would change about yourself?
If I could change one thing about myself, it would be to wear a hat and sunblock, and moisturise, and never go in the sun without it. I’m a natural redhead and very fair, so I had a malignant melanoma removed a few years ago.
What is your life motto?
Well-behaved women rarely make history – meaning sometimes we have to speak out about subjects that are often considered “unladylike”. My career choice as a sexologist has taught me that someone has to speak about sexual health, so it might as well be me.
DISA Clinic offers a range of Sexual and Reproductive Health services for women. It is located in Hurlingham Manor in Sandton (Johannesburg). All services are confidential and include counselling and referral services as well as physical exams and care. You don’t need a doctor’s referral to visit the clinic, but you must make an appointment using the following contact details:
Tel: 011 787 1222 / 886 2286
Emergency number: 083 653 6486
Please note that “drop – ins” will only be seen if time permits. The clinic is also fully wheelchair accessible.