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Combining research, mentorship and advocacy to improve reproductive health in special populations

Anne Davis, MD, MPH, Columbia University

Project abstract

All women can face obstacles when accessing reproductive health services. For some, obstacles are even greater.

Over the last decade, Dr. Davis has created a network of researchers and clinicians dedicated to improving the reproductive health of two special populations: women with epilepsy seeking contraception and women in the second trimester of pregnancy seeking abortion. This network has produced substantive cross-disciplinary projects and published research. Throughout, Dr. Davis has successfully incorporated mentorship of medical students, residents, family planning fellows, and graduate students in public health. Her guidance helped mentees become productive, successful researchers and fellowship directors.

Support from this mid-career grant will allow Dr. Davis to extend her work to advance the reproductive health of these special populations. Her specific goals include using existing datasets to 1) describe contraceptive use and experiences in an on-line survey of 800 women with epilepsy and 2) examine gestational age trends over time in women undergoing abortion for fetal indications. During this year of support, Dr. Davis would also build on established collaborations with neurologists and a social science mentee to develop and implement a pilot study examining the use of depo-medroxyprogesterone acetate in women with epilepsy.

The work supported by this grant would involve extensive mentorship of trainees and junior researchers with a particular interest in advocacy. Dr. Davis and her mentees hope to use results to advocate for updated, evidence-based practice guidelines for women with epilepsy and to promote understanding among policy makers and the media to preserve access to later abortion.


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