Ione Bissonnette, CNM MSN graduated from Columbia University’s BSN program in 1975 and began her career in Labor and Delivery and GYN at Roosevelt Hospital in New York City. From 1977 to 1985 she worked in Women’s Health at Northwestern Medical Center and in a private physician’s office in St Albans, VT. Graduating from the University of Pennsylvania’s nurse midwifery program in 1987, she completed her Integration and then a four-month long internship at the North Shore Birth Center in Beverly, MA. After working from 1987 to 1990 as one of ten midwives in the country providing full scope midwifery services to patients at Planned Parenthood and Central Vermont Hospital in Barre, VT, she joined the Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates practice of Atrius Health in the Boston area, with deliveries at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and then at Newton-Wellesley Hospital until her retirement in 2015. From 1994 to 2000, she designed the “episode of pregnancy” for Epic Systems’ EpicCare electronic medical record and wrote numerous OBGYN smart texts and smart sets for her practice. She was active, during that time, in defining behavioral and electronic guidelines for appropriate management in early pregnancy to prevent unrecognized ectopic pregnancies.
While working at Atrius Health, she was mentored by her colleague in the next door office, Elizabeth G. Stewart, MD, author of The V Book: a doctor’s guide to complete vulvovaginal health. She joined the Vulvovaginal Specialty Practice started by Dr Stewart in 2004 while also continuing her midwifery practice. She became, in 2005, the first Advanced Practice Clinician to receive Fellowship status in the ISSVD (International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease). She subsequently lectured on vulvar lichen sclerosus (2005), vaginal microscopy, pH and KOH in vulvovaginal care (2006), vulvar dermatoses (2008), vestibulodynia (2009), vulvovaginal diagnosis and treatment, (2009), vaginal atrophy (2012), and bacterial vaginosis (2012).
Starting in 2004, she and Dr Stewart worked with two colleagues to develop a medical algorithm to clearly depict the steps they took in evaluating and treating women with vulvovaginal complaints. They further developed that algorithm into a free website Vulvovaginal Disorders: an algorithm for basic adult diagnosis and treatment: https://www.vulvovaginaldisorder.org which is sponsored by the nonprofit Our Bodies Ourselves https://www.ourbodiesourselves.org The website, created for clinicians, contains extensive background material on every step of the algorithm, a color atlas of vulvar skin conditions, a large chapter on microscopy, case studies, and patient handouts.
In 2015, Ione and Dr Stewart initiated teaching sessions at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s Ob Gyn Residency Program to help integrate the website into the knowledge base of residents and medical students. The website is currently undergoing updating in both formatting and in content.