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Assessing barriers to contraceptive care among resettled refugee women: a mixed-methods investigation of disparities in quality and access

Morgen Chalmiers, MA, University of California, San Diego

Amidst widespread efforts to address the unique health needs of resettled refugees in the United States, barriers to reproductive healthcare among refugee women remain understudied and poorly understood. As the national political climate becomes increasingly hostile to both refugee and women's health, a qualitative study of this underserved, vulnerable population's experience of reproductive healthcare is urgently needed to address disparities in access to high-quality, respectful contraceptive care.

Our study addresses the dearth of research on resettled refugees' access to and experiences of family planning services. Its specific aims are 1) to identify individual, community, and system-wide factors that contribute to disparities in access to contraceptive care within resettled refugee populations 2) to explore resettled refugees' lived experiences of family planning services and interactions with reproductive healthcare providers and 3) to develop strategies for integrating culturally sensitive and nonjudgmental contraceptive and preconception counseling into routine care. The proposed study will employ multiple qualitative research methodologies including person-centered interviewing (Levy and Hollan 1998), phenomenological analysis (Lewis 2015), and ethnographic methods such as participant observation. In addition, we will use data from our preliminary interviews to develop and administer a survey in order to quantify disparities in refugee women's access to contraceptive care. The results of this study will inform future interventions, such as provider trainings or the introduction of additional screening questions related to pregnancy intention by resettlement agencies, to ultimately improve access to family planning services among this underserved population.


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