Progress Report: Curriculum Reform

One of the most meaningful ways MSFC chapters create change on their campuses is through working to improve their school’s curriculum when it comes to abortion and family planning content (and sometimes more). On the Spring 2021 Student Leader Survey, over half of respondents were either currently working on or very interested in starting to work on curriculum reform. Check out some of the ways chapters are changing what medical students learn about abortion and family planning on their campus:

Giving Feedback to Admin:

We met with faculty after our reproductive unit and delivered our structured feedback of components we liked / areas of improvement within the curriculum.Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine
Last semester, MSFC teamed up with other organizations to send out a school-wide survey gauging interest in a new curricular thread that would focus on topics including reproductive justice and the medicine of abortion. We have since analyzed the data and are in the process of sharing it with the administration.University of Cincinnati
[Our chapter’s president] is on the school Task Force on Inclusion and Bias to evaluate repro/genitourinary unit materials.Northwestern University
We have members serving on the board for Medical Gross Anatomy and Endo/Repro course reform.Texas A&M College of Medicine
Our school is developing a completely new M1/M2 curriculum, so we are trying to get involved and support more abortion and reproductive health education in the early parts of this new curriculum. Our first step was to send out a survey to medical students to tell us if they think they are receiving adequate repro/sex/abortion health education. Once we obtain that data, we will go to our larger campus curriculum reform team and present to them why we should increase education surrounding these topics.Medical College of Wisconsin

Adding (Incorporating/Introducting) Electives, Lectures, and More:

We helped to start a medication abortion doula program this year. If successful, it has the potential to be incorporated into the first-year curriculum.University of Hawaii
Some members of the chapter are working on a Reproductive Justice lecture for clinical clerkship students. There will be a pre- and post-lecture survey for students to fill out. It is intended for 3rd year students about to start their OB/GYN rotations.
Brown University
We are currently developing a pilot program of a few lectures (conscientious refusal, abortion counseling, trauma-informed care, etc.) to present over a few lunch hours. After building upon this, we will introduce it to the administration to incorporate more broadly.
University of Oklahoma
Our chapter is working to establish an Advanced Competency in Family Planning and Reproductive Health that will include 120 hours of didactic and clinical training in Family Planning and Reproductive Health for fourth-year medical students.
Ohio State University

Changing Course Materials:

We are trying to incorporate a clinical case that deals with abortion because we have been told there is ‘no room in the curriculum.’ Hopefully by doing so we can promote open, comfortable conversations about abortion.Augusta University
We are trying to expand opportunities to discuss abortion and contraception, perhaps in ‘small groups,’ so that students can actively participate. We have found [values clarification workshops] an effective forum to do so, and hope to have some implemented within our curriculum more formally.Emory University
Current and former MSFC leaders are actively working with the director of the Reproduction Module to incorporate comprehensive reproductive justice into the curriculum. For example, our school didn’t teach anything about abortion until the last couple of years. This past year, there were efforts to have discussions on abortion, but they were muddled by a lack of representation and an overrepresentation of anti-choice bias.
[A chapter leader] is working on reforming our school’s curricular inclusion of Black maternal health issues and reproductive justice. [Another chapter leader] is helping with that effort and working on reforming LGBTQ+ inclusion in our education.University of Colorado