How the Conference on Family Planning Changed My Education

First published in September 8, 2016. 

As a first year medical student, I let my doubts get in the way of my education. I was intrigued by the idea of abortion education, but I missed out on Medical Students for Choice’s 2014 Conference on Family Planning (CoFP) because I wasn’t confident enough to make the trip alone. I worried that I would be judged for going and that my safety might be compromised.

That changed after becoming president of my school’s MSFC chapter. I felt compelled to learn more about abortion and family planning. I didn’t want to just say that I supported a woman’s right to choose; I really wanted to understand the issues surrounding reproductive healthcare. Together with my fellow leader, Claire Meikle, we dove head first into the world of Medical Students for Choice.

The author and her co-student leader.

We began the year by attending the 2015 Conference on Family Planning in Philadelphia, PA, and it was such an amazing experience! From the moment we arrived, we were greeted with open arms and were already known by name from our previous MSFC leadership involvement. We heard from amazing speakers from all over the world (we even made our moms attend so we could attend *every*single* breakout session!). We connected with leaders of other chapters and learned some amazing content that we then brought back to improve our own chapter. At the conference, I was able to not only learn more about reproductive health care, but also gain a better understanding of my own beliefs. I was encouraged to push myself out of my comfort zone to continue my abortion education. I took all that I had learned from the conference and all of the questions that I still had and carried them with me to the Abortion Training Institute later that year. Since then, I developed an entire Family Planning course for our school and am currently leading a research project on family planning education for medical students.

No matter how far you are into your medical education, you will gain so much from MSFC’s conference! From the guest speakers to the hands-on training sessions, there is something for everyone. No matter your hesitation, fear not—the CoFP is a safe and welcoming place to start or expand your family planning education. (Plus, it’s a great excuse to travel!)

While I know that medical school can be overwhelming and there’s never enough free time, attending MSFC’s Conference on Family Planning is a valuable experience that is worth the time away from campus.

Are you convinced yet? Ready to register? Sign up here!