October 2017

Come Celebrate with Us!

This year, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Reproductive Health Care and Advocacy Fellowship is more important than ever, as we see the political landscape change and become more restrictive for patients and clinicians who are receiving and providing reproductive health care.  Over the decade, we have trained more than 20 family physicians who are committed to changing the landscape of reproductive health care, with all of them providing access to birth control methods and miscarriage care, and 67% of them providing abortion care in their communities. This is the way we can make an impact.

The Fellowship was launched in 2007 in New York City, and has later expanded to multiple training sites in NYC, Boston, and soon Michigan. We are recognizing the impact of two very important members of our community, Dr. Honor MacNaughton who will receive the Trailblazer Award and Dr. Martha Simmons the Clinician Advocacy Award.

Join us as we come together as a community on October 26th from 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm at The Center, 208 West 13th Street, NYC. Bid on a cool item at our silent auction, talk with our fellows, and learn about their work. Help us raise funds to support the expansion of the fellowship! Everyone deserves access to comprehensive reproductive health care and you can help us accomplish that by supporting the next generation of clinicians.

Click here to reserve your tickets. For more information, please contact Rosanna Montilla-Payano at rosanna@reproductiveaccess.org.   


Supporting Families Experiencing Pregnancy Loss 

How can I tell if I’m having a miscarriage? Can I stop it from happening?  How soon can I try again?  What did I do wrong? What are my options for treatment?

At least 1 in 5 pregnancies ends is miscarriage. There is so much clinicians can do to support and comfort their patients and families who are experiencing pregnancy loss. Providing answers to basic questions is a great place to start. The Reproductive Health Access Project has a variety of patient information materials that help clinicians answer the questions most important to their patients.  What is a miscarriage, what are my treatment options, and in-depth information on each of the early pregnancy loss treatment options are available online for free in multiple languages.

Through our Miscarriage Care Initiative, RHAP is helping community-based health care organizations provide their patients with comprehensive patient-centered treatment of early pregnancy loss.  This fall the MCI added a new site: the Community East Family Medicine Residency Program, in Indianapolis, Indiana.  RHAP is working with Dr. Casandra Cashman, the assistant director at Residency program, to integrate comprehensive management of early pregnancy loss into the residency’s educational curricula and its primary care practice settings, both at the hospital and affiliated community health care clinics.  Not only will we be expanding miscarriage treatment options for families in Indianapolis, but we will also be training future primary care clinicians in providing comprehensive miscarriage care for years to come.


Welcoming our New Fellows!

Every year, RHAP welcomes a new cohort of primary care physicians who are dedicated to providing and teaching reproductive health care within family medicine to our Fellowship program. Take some time to get to know the wonderful physicians who have joined our team for our year-long Reproductive Health Care and Advocacy Fellowship (RHA).

Ivonne McLean, MD (RHA Fellow) – Ivonne is a fellow with the Institute for Family Health in New York.  She completed her Family Medicine Residency at the University of Massachusetts, Worcester, where her interest and commitment to women’s reproductive health grew. Before making her way to Massachusetts, Ivonne graduated from St. George’s University School of Medicine and worked in their New York office for a short stint. Prior to medical school, she delved into the world of research, working as a Project Coordinator in multiple clinical trials at UCSF’s Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.  It was through her work with underserved communities and disparities research at UCSF that she decided to pursue a career as a physician.  A native of Colombia, her academic and clinical research interests also include global and rural health, adolescent health, unconscious bias, curriculum development and health literacy. As her career continues, she hopes to address reproductive health access and inequalities in health care as well as advocate for abortion care as part of full-spectrum Family Medicine. Ivonne earned her BA in Anthropology and Spanish from Rice University and has worked in Lesotho, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Paraguay, and Nicaragua.  She enjoys live music, dancing, and scuba diving.

Hannah Biederman, MD (RHA Fellow) – Hannah is a fellow with the Cambridge Health Alliance in Massachusetts. She went to the Mt. Sinai Beth Israel Family Medicine Residency in New York, NY where she was chief resident. Hannah has strong interests in reproductive healthcare and underserved medicine, both of which were strengthened during her time in residency. She is excited to continue her training during this fellowship year; incorporating full spectrum women’s health care including access to abortion services in her practice as a family physician. Hannah attended medical school at Stony Brook University School of Medicine. She graduated with a B.S. in Biological Anthropology from Duke University. Her hobbies include hiking, yoga, and vegetarian cooking.

Stay tuned for updates on our new team members as they complete their fellowships!


Notes from the Field: Dr. Mollie Jacobs

Dr. Jacobs is a family physician practicing in Colorado. Dr. Jacobs co-leads the Reproductive Health Access Project’s Colorado Cluster.


Every year at this time, I see scores of young female patients on their way to college after summer vacation. As a mother of two young girls myself who I love more than the air that I breathe, I am struck by how many young adult women come to clinic with their supportive mothers in tow. My kids still wear diapers and still can’t fall asleep unless they curl up next to or on top of me. And I marvel at and aspire to the relationship that many of my young adult patients have with their mothers.

This week I placed three IUDs for young women such as these—headed off to college, desiring reliable protection from pregnancy should they chose to be sexually active while away from home. Each patient came to the decision to obtain an IUD on her own, but each of them also presented for her visit with her mother at her side. Each patient held her mother’s hand. Each mother coached her daughter supportively to breathe, that everything would be OK, and reminded her of all the indulgent things they would do together after the procedure. 

This week, I also performed an abortion for a young woman who came home from college for a week in order to obtain the procedure with her mother by her side. I was humbled by how much respect this patient’s mother showed for her daughter’s choices.  She made no attempt to control the situation, to guide her daughter to one type of abortion or the other, to dictate what birth control she might consider after the procedure, if any, or to sway her daughter’s decision on what type of pain medication she might prefer during a procedure. She was present, supportive, and so very strong.  This daughter made her own choices safely, with her mother by her side. 

As a mother, I am so very humbled by these mothers of my patients. And every year, during back-to-school time I strive to be a little more like them. 

One of my favorite parenting quotes was written by Elizabeth Stone. “Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”  What better way to care for our hearts than to honor, to respect, and to protect their choices?

This year, we are asking our Network leaders to share notes from their personal experiences as providers in the field. Stay tuned for more posts like this one from our Network Leaders in the coming months!

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