2014 has been a year full of building and re-building. This year, many of the seeds that the Reproductive Health Access Project (RHAP) has long been planting have started to grow and blossom. We’ve also had time to take a careful, deep look at one of our longest standing programs, to make it stronger and healthier.
In 2012-13 we undertook a large research project to understand how family physicians trained in uterine aspiration for abortion care were using their skills to treat miscarriage. We conducted in-depth interviews and fielded a large national survey. We analyzed the data and learned about the barriers and enablers primary care clinicians face in providing miscarriage care. This year, we took what we learned through our research and developed a new project, The Miscarriage Care Initiative, to support integration of comprehensive miscarriage care in primary care. We are working with 5 clinicians in 4 states, providing them with the supports we know help and knocking down the barriers we learned exist. We hope, by this time next year, to have fully integrated miscarriage care into 5 community health centers and 4 family medicine residency programs. The impact of this work is significant. By supporting these 5 clinicians, we will have developed the capacity to train 120 family medicine residents in miscarriage care every year.
One of the things that makes RHAP unique is that we are led by a team of experienced clinical educators. We take teaching seriously and strive to develop hands-on clinical education experiences that not only educate but also inspire. One of RHAP’s strategic goals has been to develop a regional training center in reproductive health care. This September, we got our start. In partnership with the Institute for Family Health and with funding support from the New York City Department of Health and Hygiene, we started the Hands-on Reproductive Health Training Center. Through this initiative we are providing intensive, hands-on training to competency in IUD and contraceptive implant insertion and removal. The clinicians we train work in community health clinics throughout New York City. We have already, in the first 4 months of the project, trained 6 clinicians (a pediatrician, a physician assistant, a family physician and 3 nurse practitioners).
This year we also took a deep look at our Family Medicine Reproductive Health Network, a national organizing project aimed at supporting family physicians to provide abortion care as part of their practice. Over the past 7 years the Network has grown to over 600 members across 38 states and Washington, DC. Starting this past spring, we began a process to identify which strategies have been most successful at building the Network and expanding access to abortion care. Over the summer we poured over our Network rosters–cataloging connections and assessing engagement. We spent time this fall geographically mapping the Network. We created maps that helped us identify cities/regions where Network members are clustered and used that information to inform where we should be focusing our efforts. We found that while we are smartly investing our energies in working on the ground in NJ, NY, MA and RI, there are many more areas across the country where we have the potential to work more actively at the local/state level. We identified key elements needed to create active, engaged local Networks. We also identified several potential organizations to partner with as we expand and re-form the Network in more places across the country. Using what we learned through this reflective process, we created a multi-year plan to re-invigorate and strengthen our Network. We’ll be launching our plan in January 2015.
We are proud of the work we accomplished in 2014 and look forward to what is to come in 2015! Stay tuned.