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Training Medical Students as Reproductive Health Patient Advocates

Background: Studies have examined the effects of reproductive health (RH) training on medical students but little is known about the impact of hands-on, interactive counseling of patients.


Methods: We developed a training curriculum inclusive of the medical, social and legal aspects of contraception and abortion. First and second year medical students applied and were selected as RHAs. They participated in mentored patient counseling sessions and were present during clinical encounters. We assessed pre- and post- training knowledge and attitudes via surveys and compared this to third year medical students completing the standard OB/GYN clinical rotation.



Among RHAs, significant differences between pre and post tests knowledge assessment were noted on misidentification of LARC and emergency contraception. When comparing students in the OB/GYN rotation to RHAs, RHA students had increased significantly increased knowledge regarding abortion rates and identification of emergency contraception. Based on Likert scale assessment, RHAs experienced a significant change from baseline on their belief that abortions are safe.  The importance of patient decision making autonomy and access to abortion was also rated higher.


Discussions: Our program resulted in increased knowledge of contraceptive options and greater awareness of the psychosocial context of abortion care.  Meaningful benefits were derived from direct patient interactions resulting in evolving perceptions of family planning policies. Expansion of our model into general medical curricula would improve student training.


Keywords: Communication Skills, Counseling (Personal or Academic), Curriculum Development/Evaluation, Leadership Organizational Development, Mentoring

Topics: CREOG & APGO Annual Meeting, 2017, Clerkship Director, Clerkship Coordinator, Medical Knowledge, UME, Simulation, Advocacy,

General Information

Clerkship Director,Clerkship Coordinator,
Medical Knowledge,
Clinical Focus

Author Information

Desiree Fiorentino, MD/MBA, University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital; Lawren Mundy; Alakh Gulati, BS; Lindsey Winer, BS; Christine Curry, MD PhD

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