Anita Ravi, MD, MPH is a family physician engaged in clinical, research, and policy work focused on addressing the health care needs of marginalized populations, especially trauma-informed primary care interventions for populations involved in sexual coercion and violence. She recently started the PurpLE Clinic (Purpose: Listen and Engage), a safe health care clinic for anyone who has experienced sexual exploitation, selling sex, or trading sex to survive.
“My focus is the intersection of gender based violence, health, and the criminal justice system and how those interplay. As a family medicine resident, I had the opportunity to spend elective time at Rikers Island Correctional Facilities and volunteer as a health educator. In parallel, I learned about trafficking of persons in New York City and how the city handles these cases at a conference on domestic commercial sexual exploitation of minors. To better understand this issue, I spoke to 60-70 people from sectors such as law, social work, and medicine and shadowed lawyers at the Legal Aid Society to learn about the justice system and how prostitution-related charges were handled.
These experiences led to the design of the PurpLE Clinic, which opened at the Institute for Family Health on July 12, 2015. The patients we care for have very diverse experiences with sexual exploitation and related health care needs. On a recent Sunday, I met a family whose mother was seeking asylum to prevent her daughters from female genital cutting, a transgender trafficking survivor wanting to connect with health care due to side effects from non-prescribed hormone therapy, and a woman who was seeking contraceptive counseling and STI testing because her partner was sexually assaulting her. I can’t predict what each week will look like but I hope people are connecting with the health care they need.
I give the Institute for Family Health huge credit for their role in hosting the PurpLE Clinic. You can’t address trauma in 15 minutes, so to have the ability to give people extended appointments, in-house access to mental health care, team-based chronic disease management, and integrative medicine options such as acupuncture has been really great. While it is so exciting when patients come through the door, it also highlights challenges in providing care for patients who are justice-involved, undocumented, seeking asylum, or uninsured. Given the logistical barriers, it is great to have support of a mentor network to ask, ‘Was this the best care we could have offered?’ I have learned so much about our health care system and what needs to be changed to provide good health care for patients with these experiences.
The American Academy of Family Physicians says, ‘You can become your personal statement.’ I believe this to be true, particularly in family medicine. People have many reasons for going into medicine but can face difficulties pursuing their passion post residency. I have learned that every family medicine experience doesn’t look the same and just because your dream job doesn’t exist yet, doesn’t mean it can’t. Some days I can’t believe this is my job. I get to do things that I care about and I have had amazing mentors who have guided me towards believing that anything is possible!”
The Reproductive Health Access Project (RHAP) is proud to be participating in the fourth annual #GivingTuesday! #GivingTuesday is a campaign to create a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season. It celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations. #GivingTuesday takes place on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and is, in many ways, an antidote to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Why give on #GivingTuesday?
There is no gift like the gift of access. Access to reproductive health services means getting the health care you need, creating the family you want, and being in control of your body. A donation to the Reproductive Health Access Project ensures that we can continue to train and support the next generation of reproductive health providers, create new patient education materials, and promote the latest reproductive health research and best practices. So this #GivingTuesday, we ask that you #GiveAccess and make a donation to RHAP.
So how can you make RHAP’s #GivingTuesday a success?
- Make a donation to RHAP on December 1! Our goal is to raise at least $3,000 on #GivingTuesday. A group of clinicians we work with has promised to match $2 for every $1 we receive on #GivingTuesday.
- Help us get the word out about #GivingTuesday. The Reproductive Health Access Project is hosting a giveaway to help raise awareness about #GivingTuesday and why you choose to support RHAP on this special day of giving. We will be picking two lucky winners to win a one-year subscription to Ms. Magazine or a one-year subscription to Bitch Magazine! RHAP will be promoting #GivingTuesday on Facebook and Twitter every Tuesday for the entire month of November leading up to December 1. Share our posts with your friends and followers and ask them to support RHAP on #GivingTuesday.
To enter to win, follow these three simple steps:
- Share our post, or post an #UNselfie (this is a selfie explaining why you will make your gift to RHAP this #GivingTuesday)
- Tag the Reproductive Health Access Project in your post and use the #GivingTuesday hashtag
- Fill out this easy form – http://bit.ly/RHAPGiveAway
The Reproductive Health Care and Advocacy Fellowship is now accepting applications! This one-year fellowship is open to family physicians and aims to develop leaders who will promote and teach full-spectrum reproductive health care within family medicine. There are currently four fellowship positions available: three based in New York City at Institute for Family Health-affiliated residencies and one in Boston at the Tufts University Family Medicine Residency at Cambridge Health Alliance.
Fellows will be “trainers in training,” learning to perform reproductive health procedures and how to teach these procedures to others. Fellows will develop leadership skills by giving presentations during the residency curriculum sessions, as well as at academic family medicine meetings and conferences. With guidance from the Reproductive Health Access Project, Fellows will participate in advocacy projects that promote access to reproductive health care in family medicine. In collaboration with residents and faculty, Fellows will work on research projects with the goal of preparing presentations for academic meetings and publications for family medicine journals.
Our very first fellow, Honor MacNaughton (07-08), is now faculty at Cambridge Health Alliance and the Fellowship Director of our new Boston fellowship position. She recently looked back on her experience and shared with us what it meant to her.
“I chose to apply for RHAP’s Reproductive Health Care and Advocacy Fellowship because I was interested in both teaching in family medicine and getting trained to provide abortion care. I didn’t receive any abortion or ultrasound training in residency and the fellowship offered these concrete skills in addition to advocacy, leadership, and teaching skills.
I have carried all of what I learned during the fellowship into my current work: abortion and miscarriage provision, advanced contraceptive training, skills to train other providers, and the advocacy skills needed to negotiate the challenges of developing an abortion training program.
Beyond the fellowship, I continue to value the relationship I have built with RHAP to this day. I depend on the RHAP staff for their clinical expertise and technical assistance. And I look to the RHAP community for support when my work feels slow or isolating. Being a part of the RHAP community is reaffirming and inspires me to continue the work in my local community.”
Become the leader you want to be in reproductive health care and family medicine. Applications are being reviewed on a rolling basis. The deadline to apply is January 31, 2016. To find out more information about the curriculum, benefits, and how to apply please visit our fellowship page or email us at email@example.com.
The Reproductive Health Access Project staff joined 200 delegates from 25 states and Washington, DC at the third annual All* Above All Capitol Hill day on October 22. RHAP is proud to be part of the All* Above All coalition, which unites organizations and individuals to build support for lifting bans that deny abortion coverage. All*Above All reflects a powerful belief that each of us, not just some of us, must be able to make the important decision of whether to end a pregnancy without interference. This year’s Lobby Day was extra special because it is the first time we have had an actual bill to lobby for! The EACH Woman Act was introduced into the House by Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO), and already has over 100 Congressional Co-Sponsors.
Congress currently withholds most federal funding for abortion through the Hyde Amendment, which creates unjust barriers for those struggling to get by, interfering with their ability to make the best health care decisions for themselves and their families. The EACH Woman Act makes a meaningful policy change for women and their families by ensuring that every woman who receives care or insurance through the federal government will have coverage for abortion services. It also prohibits political interference with decisions by private health insurance companies to offer coverage for abortion care. The EACH Woman Act would restore public insurance coverage so that every woman, whatever her income, can get affordable, safe abortion care when she needs it.
The RHAP delegates spent the day in small groups meeting with members of Congress, asking them to support the EACH Woman Act. We were also asking these members of Congress to sign a letter to President Obama urging him to submit a “clean budget” with no restriction on funding for abortions. Our requests were met with a great deal of support for our cause – we are very thankful to the members of Congress who are taking a stand on this issue.
The Reproductive Health Access Project is All* in to support the EACH Woman Act because we believe abortion care is basic health care that should be accessible to everyone. Learn more about how you can join the movement to End Hyde at allaboveall.org.
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