The University of Washington, School of Medicine (UWSOM) in Seattle recently hosted a completely virtual IUD workshop with 50 students and 10+ physician leaders participating. Our workshop was geared primarily towards MS1 and MS2 pre-clinical students with the goal of increasing their competency and knowledge in the field of reproductive healthcare and justice. We were inspired to host this workshop to increase medical literacy surrounding reproductive care and educate student physicians on barriers that our patients may face while attempting to receive adequate contraceptive counseling. As Roe v. Wade’s stability continues to be threatened, we feel it is important for us as future providers to learn how to protect our patients’ reproductive autonomy.
To plan and host this event, we joined forces with the OB/GYN and Family Medicine Interest Groups on our campus. In creating a collaborative committee of around 10 medical students from each group, we were able to access increased funding, resources, and physician connections. We also utilized workshop supplies from organizations outside of MSFC, since it wouldn‘t have been financially feasible for us to send out supplies with return shipping. We reached out to several clinics, pharmaceutical companies, and OB/GYN and Family Medicine residency programs within the University of Washington system to ask for supply donations. We acquired a total of 30 Paragard and 30 Mirena practice IUDs, as well as 35 uterus models through the UW Family Planning Clinic. We utilized MSFC Student Activism Funding and Family Medicine Interest Group funds to send out materials to participants.
The event was approximately 60 minutes. The first 30 minutes consisted of a presentation from two of UW’s wonderful Family Planning physicians who spoke about contraceptive options, barriers to access, our role as providers, and best practices for inclusive contractive counseling (including for LGBTQ+ patients, homeless patients, and patients without insurance). The second 30 minutes were conducted in Zoom breakout rooms with one physician assisting 4-5 students with proper IUD insertion and answering questions surrounding contraception, reproductive justice, and lived experiences while working with patients. After the workshop, we sent out a feedback form for student and physician participants to complete to better help us structure workshops in the future.
As UWSOM is a regional medical school, comprising the five states of the WWAMI region (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Idaho), our next goal is to expand this workshop throughout our entire region. As reproductive access looks much different in Wyoming vs. Alaska vs. Washington, it is imperative that all student physicians within the UWSOM system are given the same opportunity to increase their knowledge surrounding inclusive contraceptive care. Next steps for our collective at the UWSOM Seattle cohort look like understanding the nuances and challenges of hosting this event on a broader, five-state scale.
The best suggestion we have for hosting a large event virtually that requires heavy physician presence and materials to be dispersed (while enforcing social distancing guidelines) is to collaborate. Expanding our team beyond our MSFC leaders directly led to the success of our virtual workshop. We were only able to host this event through our collaboration with the Family Medicine and OB/GYN Interest Groups. In bringing together more medical students passionate about reproductive justice and access, we were able to leverage a collective of resources, brain power, and student ingenuity, as well as build a stronger community of medical providers passionate about upholding reproductive autonomy. We look forward to our continued collaboration as we work to provide this educational opportunity to medical students across the WWAMI region!