Conference Program

Physicians as Advocates: Liberating Abortion Through Training and Education

December 10 – 11, 2021

Important: All times are in Eastern Standard Time (EST)
Pre-Conference Sessions
Tuesday December 6
5:00 – 7:00pm Doctors Not Doctrine: Exploring Values Regarding Faithful Provision of Abortion Care (Limited enrollment, pre-registration required) Manuela Tironi, JD; Shannon Russell, JD

Conservative religious groups have successfully advanced their agendas by claiming a moral high ground that they do not have. In reality, the moral high ground is ours as our advocacy for access to the full range of reproductive healthcare, including abortion, is rooted in our social justice values and a desire to care for all members of our communities. It is these same values that compel us to do no harm and prioritize the most vulnerable amongst us who are far too often denied the ability to exercise their human rights. As future medical providers, you know that those who choose to do the work of providing compassionate abortion care often do so because of their faith, not in spite of it. During this session hosted by Catholics for Choice (CFC), we will center empathy, justice, and liberation while exploring our personal values and religious and spiritual beliefs regarding access to the full range of reproductive healthcare services, including abortion. In journeying together through a series of interactive exercises, we will discuss participant reactions and reflections and share insights about reproductive justice work in both secular and faith-based settings.

Wednesday December 7
5:00 – 7:00pm Organizing 101 Workshop with Pregnancy Justice Pamela Merritt; Samantha Lee

Join MSFC staff and National Advocates for Pregnant Women to learn how to use organizing as a tool to achieve social and reproductive justice. Hear about NAPW’s organizing work in Alabama and on the Pervi Patel case, the organization’s commitment to Pregnancy Justice, and learn more about the role physicians play in NAPW’s work. We will review the basics of creating an organizing strategy, getting community buy-in, and how to keep supporters engaged for the long haul.

Thursday December 8
5:00 – 7:00pm Curriculum Reform Workshop with the Reproductive Health Project of the American Medical Student Association (Limited enrollment, pre-registration required) Pamela Merritt; Deborah Bartz, MD, MPH; Jeffrey Koetje, MD

It is unfortunately not uncommon for a medical school’s curricula to lack specific family planning content. MSFC chapters engage in reform efforts to add more content, edit the content in place, or remove inaccurate content from their school’s curricula. Whether you are interested in starting curriculum reform or overcoming obstacles in the process, this interactive session is for you! Learn from MSFC staff, curriculum experts, and fellow students on building a strategy, available tools, and trouble-shooting any challenges.

Thursday December 9
5:00 – 7:00pm Virtual Happy Hour and Networking Roundtable Event

MSFC staff and board members invite our conference attendees, faculty and exhibitors to join us for an informal gathering. Get to know each other at our virtual networking roundtables and gain early access to our virtual exhibit booths. Answer an ice-breaker question, start a conversation on the community board or organize your own virtual meet-up. Top 3 most active attendees on our leaderboard at the end of the conference win special prizes.

Conference Day 1 | Saturday December 10
10:00 – 11:00am
Keynote and Opening Plenary Session – Medical Education Post-Roe: Ensuring Patient-Centered Care and Mitigating Moral Distress – MSFC Founder Jody Steinauer, MD, PhD with introduction from MSFC Board President Dango Mwabene Jody Steinauer, MD, PhD; Atsuko Koyama, MD; Anitra Beasley, MD; Jackie Castellanos, MD

In post-Roe America, the medical education community must confront new and challenging questions. How we can ensure adequate education in abortion for medical learners? How can we support learners to navigate and lessen their moral distress? The questions are plentiful, and we are all eager to find the answers. Join MSFC founder Jody Steinauer, ob-gyn educator and Director of the Ryan Program, in conversation with educators about medical education in the post-Roe era.

11:00 – 11:15am
Break
11:15am – 12:15pm
Concurrent Sessions
Abortion Techniques: A Hands-on Training (Limited enrollment, pre-registration required by 11/21; open to US and Canadian medical students only) Ian Lague, MS; Molly Findley, DO, MPH, MS; Christopher Cantwell, MD; Sarah Gutman, MD, MSPH; Anjani Kolahi, MD; Innes Tounkel, MD

Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA) is a safe and easy method of providing early surgical abortion. It is also used for miscarriage management, treatment of failed medical abortion, or endometrial biopsy. MVA provides a low-tech alternative to electric vacuum aspiration that is gentler, quieter and used throughout the world in low resource settings. The session provides a hands-on learning opportunity using papayas as a uterine model.

Provider Panel Casandra Cashman MD, FAAFP; Jennifer Chin, MD, MS; Amy Harrington, MD; Shandhini Raidoo, MD, MPH, FACOG; Nicole Chaisson, MD, MPH

Join abortion providers as they share their stories in an informal dialogue. Hear why they chose to provide abortion as part of their practice; where they practice; what they find meaningful and rewarding about their work; what is challenging about their work; and if they have been harassed or targeted by anti-choice groups/individuals and how they deal with it.

When Does Pregnancy Threaten Maternal Health, and How Will Abortion Bans Threaten Life? Stephen T. Chasen, MD

As more states restrict or ban abortion, preventing access to necessary care will threaten the health and lives of pregnant individuals. This session will review potential threats to the health and lives of pregnant women, including pre-existing health conditions as well as obstetric complications that can be health/life threatening. Specific circumstances in which abortion may be necessary to preserve health and life will be reviewed, highlighting the dangers posed by abortion bans. Strategies to minimize these risks will be discussed.

Service Providers as Guides to Better Contraceptive Choices in a Post-Roe World Dhammika Perera, MBBS, MPH, FFPH, PhD

Contraceptive technologies available to users have constantly increased over the past five decades, with more efficient and more convenient methods coming to market. However, short-term methods remain popular, Emergency contraceptive use remains high, and ‘natural methods’ and ‘apps’ are becoming popular. While they have some ‘pros’, these methods carry higher typical use failure rates. In a Post-Roe world, contraceptive failures have much higher consequences, and providers have a responsibility to guide users in choosing methods that will protect them better against unplanned pregnancies.

Self-Managed Abortion in the USA; What Doctors Need to Know Susan Yanow, MSW

In spite of the Dobbs decision, people continue to have unwanted pregnancies and to seek ways to have abortions. Prior to Roe, women with unwanted pregnancies who could not find a skilled provider had few safe options. The advent of abortion pills has totally changed the landscape as people obtain abortion pills outside of the clinical setting. This workshop will share what we know about the prevalence of SMA in the USA, the international context for the practice, how to support and not criminalize patients who present after SMA and encourage a discussion of what participants think about women taking abortion into their own hands.

12:15 – 12:45pm
Break
12:45 – 1:45pm
Concurrent Sessions
Educational Program on Bayer IUDs (Intrauterine Devices): An Overview for New Learners (Limited enrollment, pre-registration required by 11/21; open to US and Canadian medical students only) Catherine Charbonneau; Kimberly Hart; Leigh Johnson, MD

Bayer cordially invites you to attend: A Virtual Peer to Peer IUD Educational Program. This program will review clinical information and placement steps for Mirena® (levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system) 52mg, Kyleena® (levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system) 19.5mg, and Skyla® (Levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system) 13.5mg and is intended for US participants. Educational kits with materials that can be used during the program will be mailed to enrolled participants.

Provider Panel Molly Findley, DO, MPH, MS; Christopher Cantwell, MD; Sarah Gutman, MD, MSPH; Anjani Kolahi, MD; Innes Tounkel, MD

Join abortion providers as they share their stories in an informal dialogue. Hear why they chose to provide abortion as part of their practice; where they practice; what they find meaningful and rewarding about their work; what is challenging about their work; and if they have been harassed or targeted by anti-choice groups/individuals and how they deal with it.

Building Solidarity Movements for Provision of Safe Abortion in Low Resource or Rural Settings Francis Makiya, MD

This session will talk about how movement building propels the realization of the provision of safe abortion in low-resource or rural settings. It will explore the tenets of movement building for the provision of safe abortion using case studies from the global south. Furthermore, it will highlight the good practices and key lessons learnt from movement building in an effort to make safe abortion a reality for people from low-resource or rural settings.

Advocating for Reproductive Justice in a Post-Roe World: How Medical Students and Future Doctors Can Contribute to Racial Justice and Maternal Health Beyond Abortion Astrid Ackerman, JD; Joia Crear-Perry, MD, FACOG; Michelle Drew, DNP, MPH, CNM, FNP-C, C-EFM; Shanayl Reed Bennett

Abortion is now illegal in many states, which will inevitably exacerbate health disparities based on race, gender, and socioeconomic background across the country. As this hostile legal environment continues to develop, what is the role of medical students and future doctors in advocating for reproductive justice? This session will explore this question from a grassroots organizing, academic, and health provider perspectives. The discussion will focus on advocacy efforts for Black and Indigenous people and other people of color, and highlight different forms in which medical professionals can continue to advocate for reproductive justice by providing accessible, affirming, and high quality reproductive health care to marginalized communities.

Telehealth Medication Abortion for Trainees: Providing Patient-Centered Abortion Care from your Couch Paris Stowers, MD, MSCTR, FACOG; Shandhini Raidoo, MD, MPH, FACOG; Kelsi Chan, MD

Telehealth encounters for abortion provision has become increasingly common as a result of technological advancement, the COVID-19 pandemic, and an increasing number of abortion restrictions. Telehealth is a valuable tool for improving abortion access, but this modality also requires skills distinct from those used for in-person encounters. This workshop will focus on reviewing evidence-based protocols for no-test medication abortion via telehealth and review strategies to help medical student and resident trainees thrive in telehealth visits.

1:45 – 2:00pm
Break
2:00 – 3:00pm
Concurrent Sessions
Abortion Training in Residency Panel Kristin Simonson, MA; Erica Chong; Neha Bhardwaj, MD; Kelita Fox, MD; Jennifer Reeves, MD, MPH; Sarah Spurgeon, MD

The goal of this session is to provide information on abortion training available in ob-gyn and family medicine residencies in states where abortion remains legal and provide guidance for residency applicants interviewing at programs in states where abortion is illegal or significantly restricted. The session will end with a Q&A dialogue between panelists and attendees.

Abortion Bans and the Criminalization of Pregnant People DeShawn Taylor, MD, MSc, FACOG

This session aims to connect the dots between abortion bans and criminalization. It will challenge the notion of the benevolent state/ ”reasonable” bans/ “good prosecutors/cops” and remind the audience that we do not live in equitable environments, our systems are not built for the marginalized, and we will not experience the harms of these systems equally. A vision for something better will be outlined.

Addressing Abortion Related Stigma Through Medical Education and Advocacy Dr. Jayne Kavanagh; Merel Krediet

This session will explore with participants the different ways that medical education can create, exacerbate and address abortion-related stigma. Participants will reflect on the different ways they have seen abortion stigmatized during the course of their medical education and the impacts that this has on abortion and wider health care. Participants will be equipped with advocacy tools to develop plans to challenge and change medical education that stigmatizes abortion. They will be introduced to a bank of resources that can be used to work alone or with others to advocate for (and deliver) comprehensive and non-stigmatizing education on abortion now and throughout their careers.

Empowering Disabled Patients and Advocating for Disability Justice in Reproductive Health Leila Jade Levi; Ma’ayan Anafi

Disabled people face unique barriers to accessing reproductive health care—barriers that are compounded by the ongoing legacy of eugenics and reproductive coercion in the United States. Drawing on lessons from advocacy and original research, this session will explore the influence of ableism on disabled people’s sexual and reproductive health and abortion access. We will discuss how providers can reduce barriers disabled people face to accessing abortion, address bias, and facilitate disabled patients’ decision-making with a broader recognition of reproductive autonomy and coercion. The goal is to discuss how the medical doctors of the future can work to recognize and address the impacts of ableism in our healthcare system. We hope to train physicians to empower and respect their disabled patients and advocate for policy change at the community, health system, state and federal levels.

Physician Advocacy: Finding Your Niche Adrienne Ramcharan; Mikayla Dawson; MiQuel Davies, JD, BSW; Kelsey Rhodes

Health care providers, including medical students, have a unique role to play in ensuring policy is informed by medicine and science and advancing access to comprehensive reproductive and sexual health care for all. As future physicians you will have a unique opportunity to leverage the privilege your white coat provides to center those you care for in your work and advocacy. As students you have a much needed voice that can inform medical education institutions and organizations around interest and importance of physician advocacy as part of training. Join Physicians for Reproductive Health experts for a session on Advocacy, Media, and Testimony 101. In this session you will have an opportunity to work on the skills necessary to advocate before your local, state, and federal elected officials, hear tips on engaging and influencing the public narrative through traditional as well as social media, and try hands on practice writing and submitting testimony on law and policy you care about. Participants will discuss the unique role of physicians in advocating for reproductive health and have the opportunity to choose hands on activities to practice ranging from letters to the editor, social media content, and legislative testimony.

Conference Day 2 | Sunday December 11
10:00 – 11:30am
Closing Plenary Session – The Global Movement for Reproductive Justice Pamela Merritt; Oscar Muhoozi, MD; Patty Gonzalez; Jill McManus, MD

Join us for a lively panel discussion on global reproductive justice work featuring MSFC alumni and moderated by Executive Director Pamela Merritt. MSFC student leaders and alumni train and advocate in communities all over the world, including the US. Our work to increase access to abortion and family planning education is a critical part of the global movement for reproductive health, rights, and justice. Learn more about the role student leaders and physicians play in regional and national campaigns, and how all their work advances human rights for all.

11:30 – 11:45am
Break
11:45am – 12:45pm
Concurrent Sessions
Educational Program on Bayer IUDs (Intrauterine Devices): An Overview for New Learners (Limited enrollment, pre-registration required by 11/21; open to US and Canadian medical students only) Catherine Charbonneau; Kimberly Hart; Michelle Haggerty, DO, MPH, ABOIM, IBCLC

Bayer cordially invites you to attend: A Virtual Peer to Peer IUD Educational Program. This program will review clinical information and placement steps for Mirena® (levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system) 52mg, Kyleena® (levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system) 19.5mg, and Skyla® (Levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system) 13.5mg and is intended for US participants. Educational kits with materials that can be used during the program will be mailed to enrolled participants.

 

Provider Panel Lin-Fan Wang, MD, MPH; Sharon Gerber, MD, MPH, FACOG; Keith Reisinger-Kindle, DO, MPH, MS, FACOG*; DeShawn Taylor, MD, MSc, FACOG; Halina Yee, MD

Join abortion providers as they share their stories in an informal dialogue. Hear why they chose to provide abortion as part of their practice; where they practice; what they find meaningful and rewarding about their work; what is challenging about their work; and if they have been harassed or targeted by anti-choice groups/individuals and how they deal with it.

*The views expressed during this session are the views of Dr. Reisinger-Kindle alone, and do not reflect the views of his employers or affiliated organizations.

Gestational Age Based Abortion Bans and Fetal Abnormalities: Expediting Prenatal Diagnosis Stephen T. Chasen, MD

While some states have banned abortion, other states have gestational-age based limits. Federal legislation banning abortion after 15-weeks’ gestation has also been proposed. With advancing gestational age, a higher proportion of abortions are performed for fetal indications. Expediting prenatal diagnosis can provide pregnant women with information necessary to make reproductive decisions at earlier stages of pregnancy, and can help ensure that abortion care will be available without traveling out-of-state. This session will review prenatal diagnosis of structural and genetic abnormalities, including strategies to achieve prenatal diagnosis at earlier gestational ages.

Abortion Care Training Post Dobbs: Perspectives from Across the United States Wing Kay Fok, MD, MS; Diana Crabtree Sokol, MD, MSc; Holly Bullock, MD, MPH, FACOG; Rachel Zigler, MD, MSCI, FACOG

The Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Supreme Court decision has significantly impacted abortion training for residents. During this panel, medical educators from across the United States will share strategies for training residents in abortion care under new legislation in their respective states, as well as approaches to assessment of competence. Panelists will also explore ways to incorporate abortion advocacy into residency curriculums.

The Role of Postpartum Family Planning in Reducing Maternal Morbidity Due to Unsafe Abortion in Uganda Oscar Muhoozi, MD

Many women of reproductive age experience a variety of postpartum pregnancy complications which should be entirely prevented within the first 6 weeks after delivery. The postpartum period is also a key intervention point to prevent a repeat adolescent pregnancy and its associated sequalae. There is an immediate need to promote and incorporate post-abortion care (PAC) into family planning provision. Daunting gaps and barriers such as religion and African cultural beliefs have impacted sexual and reproductive health advocacy efforts and recommendations in postpartum family planning provision that have both positively and negatively affected contraceptive use in Uganda.

12:45 – 1:15pm
Break
1:15 – 2:15pm
Concurrent Sessions
Abortion Techniques: A Hands-on Training (Limited enrollment, pre-registration required by 11/21; open to US and Canadian medical students only) Ian Lague, MS; Lin-Fan Wang, MD, MPH; Sharon Gerber, MD, MPH, FACOG; Miriam McQuade, MD; Halina Yee, MD; Lauren Farmer, MD

Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA) is a safe and easy method of providing early surgical abortion. It is also used for miscarriage management, treatment of failed medical abortion, or endometrial biopsy. MVA provides a low-tech alternative to electric vacuum aspiration that is gentler, quieter and used throughout the world in low resource settings. The session provides a hands-on learning opportunity using papayas as a uterine model.

Provider Panel Rachel Zigler, MD, MSCI, FACOG; Jessica Beaman, MD, MPH; J. Thomas Hutchison, DO, FACOG; Jordan Fletcher, MD, MPH, Jen Kaiser, MD, MSCI, MA

Join abortion providers as they share their stories in an informal dialogue. Hear why they chose to provide abortion as part of their practice; where they practice; what they find meaningful and rewarding about their work; what is challenging about their work; and if they have been harassed or targeted by anti-choice groups/individuals and how they deal with it.

When Abortion is a Crime: Challenges and Opportunities in Restrictive Settings Dr. Guillermo Ortiz Avendaño; Cecilia Espinoza Palacios

In this session, we aim to strengthen students understanding of the impact of abortion criminalization on women, girls and pregnant people’s health and rights. We will discuss the direct and indirect consequences of the United States Supreme Court decision, especially for women, girls, and pregnant people’s rights, both in the U.S and abroad. Additionally, we will share examples of opportunities and lessons learned from Latin America advocacy in the last 30 years, including how medical students and healthcare staff can be advocates for abortion access and rights.

Living Where You Work: Community Focused Abortion Care in Kansas Quinn Jackson, MD, MPH; Christina Bourne, MD, MPH

Practicing abortion care in hostile areas is fundamentally different than in supportive places. The challenges and barriers we face to providing this basic healthcare are extreme; however, to truly operate from a reproductive justice framework, it is imperative to be rooted in the communities we care for. There is no substitute for intimately knowing the history, culture and politics of where we practice. Communities hold the keys to their liberation. As physicians, true solidarity with our patients and with our movement comrades begins with being a community member. Partnering with on-the-ground activists, clinic staff, and patients from the region is essential to strengthening and empowering the communities that support our clinics; however, for decades, many organizations in the Midwest and South have relied on traveling physicians to provide care. The interplay between the (artificial) scarcity of local providers and the centrality of deeply-rooted local experience to movement building creates obstacles to authentic community connection, as well as opportunities for growth and innovation. In this session, Dr Christina Bourne (she/her) and Dr Quinn Jackson (he/they) will discuss the importance of community in abortion work and their experiences working and living in Kansas.

Stories Belong to the Storyteller: The Ethics of Writing About Abortion Christine Henneberg, MD, MS

This session is an interactive narrative medicine workshop designed to explore, from a provider perspective, stories of abortion care and our reasons for telling these stories. It interrogates issues of reproductive justice and marginalized voices in narrative medicine, while also making an argument for the necessity of storytelling to effect social change. Participants are asked to bring a paper and pen and be prepared to participate in short writing exercises.

2:15 – 2:30pm
Break
2:30 – 3:00pm
Closing Address MSFC President Elect, Hanna Amanuel
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