Abortion Training Programs Report 2021

As in 2020, in 2021 the COVID-19 restrictions continued to negatively impact MSFC’s capacity to administer the Abortion Training Funding Programs—the Reproductive Health Externship (RHE) for medical students and the Training to Competence Externship (TCE) for residents. Despite many disruptions caused by travel restrictions and other safety considerations, a total of 41 medical students participated in the RHE and 13 residents completed the TCE program. This volume of participation is on par with 2020.

These 54 participants came from 41 schools and training programs, and were able to schedule their externship placement at one of the 28 host facilities that accepted participants this year.

Here is what some of the participants said after completing their training experience:

I really loved this experience a lot. The patients and providers were very nice and focused on training me. They asked me about my goals on the first day and focused on meeting them throughout the training. I worked a lot on my hands on skills, and I always felt like I was needed around the clinic. The patients were great, and I had a very amazing experience – definitely my best rotation in general. I felt very inspired to continue this type of training and work in my future career.2021 RHE Participant
It was an incredible experience. I got more hands on opportunities in 2 weeks than I had in 2 months of medical school. The doctors were amazing and since it was a small family practice, I felt more like a team member than a student hovering in the corner.2021 RHE Participant
[The RHE] It is a unique experience that most students are not exposed to during their medical school training. There is so much to learn from not only the medical aspect but also from the team work amongst doctors, social workers and other healthcare professionals that is essential in providing safe and competent patient care.2021 RHE Participant

Program Impact
To evaluate the outcomes of these programs we ask applicants to complete a survey before and after their training, here are some of the highlights from 2021’s evaluation.

Program participants were asked to indicate how knowledgeable they felt about key abortion provision and reproductive health topics, on both the pre- and post-externship surveys. Results show an increase towards “very knowledgeable” on all categories:

Intention to Provide Abortion Services
Another topic we explored among our participants was their intention to provide medical and/or surgical abortion services in their future practice. Although this was already high on the pre-externship survey, we see a slight increase on intention to provide on the post-survey results.

Additional Training
On the post-RHE survey, participants were asked, on a scale of 1 through 5—with 1 being not likely and 5 being very likely—, how likely were they to pursue additional abortion training? The average response was 4.7.