Medical Students for Choice congratulates Asha Lindsey and Karla Tytus on receiving the 2021 Elizabeth Karlin Early Achievement Award*. Both of these student activists are in their 3rd year from Meharry Medical College. Asha and Karla have worked in committee with other Black MSFC members to organize a continuing webinar series: “Unmuted: The Intersection of Race, Reproductive Justice, and Family Planning.“ This series explores the history of reproductive violence and oppression facing the Black community in the United States and examines how this legacy of racism endures today along the entire reproductive healthcare spectrum. One of the aspects that makes this series special is the inclusion of reproductive justice experts from both within and external to the mainstream medical system. Faculty have included doulas, midwives, nurses, physicians, sociologists, and nonprofit professionals. The webinars are open to MSFC members and the broader student community. Since its inception in May 2020, the webinars have educated hundreds of students on racial and reproductive injustices.
As leaders of their chapter at Meharry, Asha and Karla have done an incredible job growing the chapter and moving it toward sustainability. Despite the many disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Meharry chapter thrives and builds lasting connections with their community. To provide educational opportunities for their membership, they planned a virtual conference for pre-med and medical students at Meharry and Vanderbilt. The conference offered educational content not covered in either of the schools‘ curriculum, including Diversity & Equity in Abortion Access; and War on Drugs & Pregnant Women. They also included a manual vacuum aspirator (MVA) workshop for the conference attendees, delivering the equipment to each participant. Despite the online instruction, students had an opportunity to gain comfort and facility with MVAs. Asha and Karla have gone above and beyond to educate their classmates, their community, and the MSFC membership–at-large. Their work to raise racial justice issues in conjunction with clinical skills to the medical student community is necessary and vital to the future of abortion provision. We are so proud of the all that they have achieved and look forward to their future success in transforming medical care.
* The Elizabeth Karlin Early Achievement Award, first awarded in 1997 by the National Abortion Federation (NAF), recognizes and honors the commitment and accomplishments of a medical student who involves herself/himself/themselves in efforts to ensure that abortion remains a safe and viable reproductive health option.