As a medical student at Wayne State University, rotating through the various specialties, Kelita Fox was immediately attracted to family medicine for its broad area of focus and its emphasis on care for people throughout the lifespan.
Her choice was sealed during a rotation in a Detroit emergency department, which made clear to her the profound need for primary care providers, particularly when it came to reproductive health. “Patients were using the emergency room as a primary care office,” says Fox. “It was plain to see the troubling effects of their lack of access to primary care.”
Fox saw an alarming number of patients who had come to the ER for pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease tests and who were not using a steady form of contraception. “They needed counseling about condoms, IUDs, and implants,” she says.
Fox had always viewed women’s health as an integral part of family medicine. But in medical school, she observed significant differences between providers who were comfortable providing this type of care and those who were not. Then, as she neared the end of her residency in Madison, Wisconsin, she was exposed to family physicians who did a particularly good job of integrating reproductive and sexual health into their practices. Fox wanted to become a truly outstanding reproductive health provider and began to look for a fellowship that would afford her a high volume of hands-on clinical experience under the supervision of excellent mentors.
RHAP’s Reproductive Health and Advocacy Fellowship, to which Fox was accepted, met those criteria, enabling her to work at the Institute for Family Health in Manhattan, where she would face no barriers in providing comprehensive contraceptive care.
RHAP fellows spend the first part of their fellowship honing their own skills. Then they begin training family medicine residents under the close observation of seasoned clinicians, including RHAP’s medical director, Linda Prine, whom Fox calls an “amazing women’s health advocate.” A central aim of the fellowship is to produce clinicians who are capable of multiplying the effect of their education. Now, a year after her fellowship and still working at the Institute, Fox has trained dozens of clinicians.
“Women want providers who are comfortable with the procedures they’re doing and know the correct language to use. In my first clinical assignments, I encountered patients who had had negative experiences with exams in other facilities. I wanted to be a provider who could provide that care well,” she says.
Almost every day, Fox has a patient who is seeking long-acting reversible contraception (LARC)—in other words, IUDs and implants. The expense of IUDs in particular means that some medical practices require patients to pay up front and then wait for the clinic to order it. “As most of us know, that is not an effective way to help women avoid pregnancy,” Fox says.
Since the end of her fellowship in the summer of 2014, Fox has been providing training in IUD and implant provision to residents, seasoned physicians, and nurse practitioners through RHAP’s Hands-On Reproductive Health Training Center.
“What does it mean to help women find the right birth control? It means being patient-centered, and that, as a physician, is one of my main goals. I really value providing women with contraception that fits their lifestyles and needs.”
For Fox, who came to New York City for the RHAP fellowship, the city is exerting a magnetic effect. Now the mother of a five-month-old boy (and a master of the subway system), she finds the city a perfect place to practice family medicine.
“At my health center there is an extremely diverse population, demographically, and socio-economically, so you learn to relate to patients of all walks of life, which is extremely important for a family physician,” she says.
We are so pleased to share with you our 2015-2016 Miscarriage Care Initiative cohort! These five physicians have demonstrated their commitment to expanding access to evidence-based, patient-centered miscarriage care in their clinics. Grantees will receive intensive support from RHAP to integrate and expand miscarriage treatment in their practices, helping to increase the number of family physicians providing miscarriage care, and developing clinical leaders and advocates.
Dr. Lillian Holloway is a family physician and the Director of Family Planning and Prenatal Clinics at Cermak Health Services of Cook County Jail in Chicago, Illinois. Her goal is to offer all three early pregnancy loss treatment options to incarcerated women at Cook County Jail, expanding their access to reproductive health services before they return to their communities, where options are often limited. Dr. Holloway plans to use this grant to continue her work of providing this vulnerable group of women with the gift of choice in miscarriage care.
Dr. Sarah Hufbauer is the Clinical Site Director at Country Doctor Community Clinic, a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) located in Seattle, Washington. She also holds a faculty position at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Dr. Hufbauer’s goal is to offer all three types of miscarriage management at her site and eventually expand to Country Doctor’s second site. This grant will help Dr. Hufbauer and her colleagues offer their patients the option to choose an MVA for miscarriage management in a familiar and comforting environment. They also plan to teach family medicine residents miscarriage management care, so that this type of care becomes a routine part of these physicians’ toolkit.
Dr. Mary Moya is a family physician and the Assistant Director at Scripps Family Medicine Residency in Chula Vista, California. She trains residents at two FQHCs in the San Diego border area. Dr. Moya’s goal is to integrate comprehensive miscarriage management at Chula Vista Family Medicine Clinic and Samahan Clinic, and train faculty and residents in all three types of miscarriage management. Dr. Moya and her colleagues work with significantly underserved patients in the San Diego border area; this grant will help them increase the number of family medicine clinicians able to offer this important care to patients.
Dr. Amy Santin is a Family Medicine physician at Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) in Asheville, North Carolina. Her goal is to train family medicine faculty and residents to offer all three types of miscarriage management care to patients at MAHEC residency, thereby alleviating barriers faced by patients in need of comprehensive reproductive health care. With assistance from the grant, Dr. Santin and her family medicine colleagues will not only improve access to miscarriage care for the some 3,000 women seen at MAHEC per year, but also expand access to miscarriage care into rural western North Carolina by training the 60% of residents who stay local after completing residency.
Dr. Tina Wheat is the Medical Director at Erie Family Health Center’s Humboldt Park Site in Chicago, Illinois. The site is an FQHC that serves low-income and under-resourced populations. Dr. Wheat also holds a core faculty position with Northwestern McGaw Family Medicine Residency Program. Her goal is to expand miscarriage management services into her Teaching Health Center’s family medicine residency site, which provides training to 274 future providers across 13 distinctive health centers in the area.
RHAP is having a sale! All month long, our patient education sheets, birth control user guides, and clinical tools, including our popular “Your Birth Control Choices” poster, will be 15% off. Just use the promo code “october2015”. We offer these resources in high quality color prints that are great for health centers, doctor’s offices, and school clinics.
You can trust our materials because they’re pharma-free and evidence-based. This means that we do not take funding or gifts from pharmaceutical companies and we do not promote specific brands. We constantly update our sheets to be sure they reflect the latest research and knowledge. All of our patient education sheets are available in English and Spanish, with more languages soon to come.
Whether your patients want to compare different methods of contraception, understand their early abortion or miscarriage options, or get information about how to switch contraception methods, our decision aids are an asset to patient-centered care.
“The Reproductive Health Access Project presents V to Shining V” 10 year-anniversary celebration was a huge success! We are so happy to have had the opportunity celebrate with so many of you and we want to thank you all for your tremendous support of the Reproductive Health Access Project over the past decade.
We would like to give a big shout out to our friends at Lady Parts Justice League for pulling together an amazing line up of performers and infusing the evening with big-hearted feminist activism. We invite you to get to know them and support their efforts to raise awareness about reproductive justice.
Buzz Off, Lucille joined us for the second year as our V to Shining V MC’s, and as usual, they kept the crowd laughing and energized throughout the night. Leah Bonnema opened the show with an amazing stand-up performance and was followed by a fantastic musical performance by Ted Leo. Sorry About Last Night hosted a very informative live interview with our Medical Director, Dr. Linda Prine where she discussed the challenges abortion providers face, and even answered questions from the audience.
The Hilarious duo, Betsy Kenney and Alise Morales, hosted a fantastic raffle and several lucky attendees won prizes ranging from a peanut butter pack to a vasectomy. Our organizational leadership and medical fellows were also incredibly honored to have the opportunity to talk so many of our supporters about how important the work that RHAP does is to them and how important your support is to our organization.
The second act was equally amazing with a stand-up performance by the hilarious Naomi Ekerperign. Janeane Gorafalo was a treat to see live in action and the show closed with a killer performance by Lea DeLaria – she even included a sing along! It was so wonderful to hear all our amazing supporters singing and celebrating the Reproductive Health Access Project. It was a truly inspiring night! Check out pictures and video clips from the event.
Help us keep this positive energy from V to Shining V going! Stay connected to the Reproductive Health Access Project by following us on Twitter and Facebook. There will be many opportunities to support the Reproductive Health Access Project through the end of 2015 – help us make our 10th year our best year yet!
We raised almost $50,000 from the event, all of which will go towards supporting the Reproductive Health Access Project’s mission of integrating contraception, miscarriage, and abortion into primary care.
If you were unable to donate at the event but would like to support the Reproductive Health Access Project’s 10-year anniversary celebration, it is not too late – visit our donation page to make a gift today!
Thank you again for your support over the last 10 years, we are looking forward to all the amazing things to come in next decade!
“Miscarriage is so common, it should not be marginalized, and there are rarely times that ER care is needed… It shouldn’t feel like special treatment to be respected, to have your worries addressed, and to have your grieving acknowledged.”
As RHAP’s Medical Director Linda Prine wrote in a blog post last year, experiencing early pregnancy loss can be an emotional process for women and their families. It is our belief that everyone experiencing a miscarriage should be able to access high-quality, patient-centered miscarriage care within their own communities.
Approximately one in five pregnancies end in miscarriage, and there are several safe and effective treatment options available. Research has demonstrated that women achieve better health outcomes when they are engaged in a shared-decision making process. We believe that women, in conjunction with their health care provider, should be able to choose a treatment based on their unique needs and preferences.
RHAP is committed to improving access to all three forms of miscarriage care: expectant, medication management, and uterine aspiration. Through our research, clinical resources, and the Miscarriage Care Initiative, we work closely with family physicians and other primary care providers to ensure that they have the tools and resources to offer all three options to their patients.
At RHAP, we want to make sure that all providers and patients stay informed and up-to-date on managing early pregnancy loss. Please take a moment to check out our miscarriage management resources.
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