Online Program

Abortion care awareness initiative: A Maine model for providing education and outreach to health professionals

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 4:45 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Kate Gawler, LPN, Family Planning Association of Maine, Augusta, ME
The Abortion Care Awareness Initiative was developed and implemented by the Family Planning Association of Maine to create an environment where physicians and other health care workers have the medically-accurate knowledge, skills, resources, and comfort level to address the complex issues of reproductive health care, including abortion care. The long-term goal of this work is to de-stigmatize abortion in the wider health care setting and thereby advance systemic change and create a climate where women feel comfortable discussing any medical issue with their health care provider. We identified three key sectors in Maine to engage in this effort: residencies and medical schools, direct care providers, and hospital Emergency Departments. Among the strategies we found most effective were focused educational presentations to physicians and other health professionals; offering direct experience to residents and students through clinical rotation opportunities; and the creation of online resources for both professionals and patients. Challenges encountered and addressed along the way included individual and organizational resistance as well as institutional barriers. We worked to inspire medical professionals and students, build relationships, and enhance an understanding of the complexity of abortion care issues. This successful project reached more than 400 health care professionals in two years and fostered sustainable change and ongoing relationships with educational institutions and care providers throughout Maine. Providers consistently tell us that the knowledge and perspective they gained will enable them to better care for any woman with an unintended pregnancy regardless of her decision.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Provision of health care to the public

Learning Objectives:
Explain the goals of an outreach program to provide education about abortion to health professionals. Identify the key health care sectors to engage in this effort. List 3 effective strategies to promote medically-accurate knowledge about abortion in the wider community.

Keyword(s): Abortion, Women's Quality Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I co-developed and implemented the Abortion Care Awareness Initiative, an education and outreach project for health professionals in Maine, in partnership with The Bingham Program. I have been an abortion care nurse and educator at the Family Planning Association of Maine since 1997, and the Director of Abortion Care Services since 2005. We have provided clinical rotations in abortion care to hundreds of physicians and medical students through our Training and Education Program.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.