This Is Tia, the Revolutionary Gynecologist Office That Listens to Your Symptoms and Sells Vibrators In the Lobby

How many times have you heard a friend talking about how she's dreading her annual exam at the gynecologist? Even worse, how many of your friends don't actually have a place to go for their sexual and reproductive health — be it they don't have insurance or have never had a doctor that's made them feel comfortable. Enter Tia, a modern, beautiful health care office for women in Manhattan — and (hopefully) the OB-GYN office of the future.

Co-founded by Carolyn Witte and Felicity Yost, the office wants to be the “antithesis of the doctor’s office today as you know it. A place you want to go not just when something is wrong, but to proactively check in on your health. A safe space that invites your whole, authentic self - where you feel heard, seen and cared for," 28-year-old Witte tells Her Campus. 

Photo Credit: Kezi Ban @ Blonde Artists courtesy of Rockwell Group

Tia opened its doors in early March, with Witte and Yost ready to provide women with care that makes them feel comfortable and heard by their most intimate doctor. Historically, women are often misdiagnosed or ill-informed at their gynecologist. A 2001 study, “The Girl Who Cried Pain” found that women are less likely to receive adequate treatment than men for painful symptoms. They also found that gender-based biases are present, especially surrounding women’s experiences with pain. Research also shows that women receive less medical prescriptions from doctors after surgery than men. Instead of getting direct help, women tend to be told that their issues are related to emotional distress or psychosomatic factors. The notion that “women cry - what can you do?” is based around the idea that a woman's pain is perceived as “constructed or exaggerated” according to an Atlantic article. Buzzfeed even shared stories from dozens of women who weren't taken seriously while in pain, including one woman who had to see a doctor five times before getting her endometriosis diagnosed. 

These stories are all too familiar for Witte, whose polycystic ovarian syndrome went misdiagnosed for three years. Her and Yost’s inspiration for Tia came from “being patients ourselves and experiencing how fundamentally broken healthcare is today. We thought to ourselves if we can’t figure it out, how can anyone else figure it out? There has to be a better way.”

Photo Credit: Kezi Ban @ Blonde Artists courtesy of Rockwell Group

Carolyn Witte, CEO, and Co-Founder at Tia

Photo Credit: Kezi Ban @ Blonde Artists courtesy of Rockwell Group

Tia patients are encouraged that no topic is off limits, from painful sex to awful periods, or birth control induced anxiety symptoms — there's even an app where you can note health history and share any current concerns. In addition to creating a comfortable sex-positive enviornment, Tia patients are encouraged to shop the various vibrators sold in the lobby. 

Photo Credit: Kezi Ban @ Blonde Artists courtesy of Rockwell Group

So, what's the price of revolutionary, patient-specific healthcare? There's a $150 annual charge just to be a member at Tia. Once you’re a member, the office accepts many forms of insurance, but without it a general exam would cost $250. Since this is unfortunately a luxury that most college students can't afford, Witte says to remember this: “Your doctor is a consultant in your health, not a dictator who can decide what’s right for you. You know your body best, so don’t be afraid to advocate for what you feel is 'wrong' or 'right' or when you want more information before making a choice.” 

Tia is at the foreground for changing the way a woman’s pain is viewed and assessed, and while not everyone has access to it, the message is loud and clear: It’s time to fight for the healthcare we deserve and have to advoocate for ourselves the best we can in a system that has historically dismissed and pushed back.