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Dear SFP fellows and colleagues,

The purpose of our year-end newsletter is to provide you with a brief overview of SFP’s recent activities—and to ask you to consider making a tax-deductible contribution to support SFP’s unique mission and operations throughout the year. You may designate your donation for a particular purpose or simply support our overall activities.

Annual meeting

In November, SFP convened our annual meeting in Chicago in conjunction with the fifth annual North American Forum on Family Planning, produced in partnership with Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and our colleagues at the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (ARHP). We are pleased with attendance of more than 1000, as well as with the overall results and the feedback from attendees. Many have referred to this year’s Forum as representing no less than a paradigm shift for our field.

One aspect of the meeting that is always a highlight is the annual SFP Awards Luncheon. This year, we recognized Dr. Stanley Henshaw with the SFP Lifetime Achievement Award, Dr. Willard Cates, Jr., with the Allan Rosenfield Award for Lifetime Contributions to International Family Planning, and Dr. Mark Nichols for the Robert A. Hatcher Family Planning Mentor Award.

The winner of this year’s Outstanding Researcher Award was SFP fellow Lisa Harris, MD, PhD, for her abstract, “Doctors as messengers: mobilizing physicians across all medical specialties to respond to state level abortion restrictions.” The winner of the Outstanding Researcher in Training Award was SFP junior fellow Susan Wilson, MD, MSHP, for her abstract, The role of doulas to address analgesic and psychological needs during surgical management of early pregnancy failure and abortion.”

Don’t miss the photos of the awards presentation at the end of this newsletter!

Elissa Test, MD, MPH, and Geffan Pearlson, first-place winners of Society of Family Planning 2015 poster awardsAwards were also given for the top scientific posters. First place (see photo at left) went to Elissa Test, MD, MPH (right), Geffan Pearlson (left), Jennifer Kerns, MD (not shown), and Eleanor Drey, MD, EdM (not shown), for “Estimated versus quantitative blood loss during dilation and evacuation.” Second place went to Alison Norris, MD, PhD (left, in the photo on the left, below), Elise Berlan, MD, MPH (right), and Nicole Pritt, MD candidate (center), for “Pediatrician attitudes and beliefs about long-acting reversible contraception influence counseling.” Third place went to Priyanka Gokhale (left, in the photo on the right, below), Justin Lappan, MD (center), and Lisa Perriera, MD, MPH (right), for “Safety of deep sedation without intubation for obese and non-obese women undergoing first and second trimester surgical abortion.”

Alison Norris, MD, PhD, Elise Berlan, MD, MPH, and Nicole Pritt, MD candidate, second-place winners of Society of Family Planning 2015 poster awards; and Priyanka Gokhale, Justin Lappan, MD, and Lisa Perriera, MD, MPH, third-place winners of Society of Family Planning 2015 poster awards 

Corinne Rocca, PhD, MPH, winner of Society of Family Planning 2015 Best Translational Science Poster Abstract AwardThe winner of Best Translational Science Poster Abstract—a new award this year—was Corinne Rocca, PhD, MPH, for “Safety and effectiveness of access to medication abortion from pharmacy clinics in Nepal.” Her co-authors (not pictured) included Mahesh Puri, PhD, MSc, MA, Maya Blum, MPH, Prabhakar Shrestha, Daniel Grossman, MD, and Cynthia Harper, PhD.

Career Development Seminar

This year’s seminar was well attended, and Drs. Mitch Creinin and Eve Espey joined me for the opening session with a panel reflecting on the history of SFP at our 10-year mark.

For part two of the seminar, attendees chose to participate in one of three workshops on research methodologies. The three workshops included:

Key principles of survey research—Megan Kavanaugh, PhD, MPH; Elizabeth Janiak, MA, MSc

Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR)Marj Plumb, DrPh; Samantha Garbers, PhD

Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR)Cynthia Chuang, MD, MSc; Lisa Stern, RN, MSN

The workshop participants felt the sessions were engaging, and they came away with new perspectives on PCOR, CBPR, and survey design. Each workshop was followed by discussion on incorporating the research methods into family planning research.

Impact Initiative

Earlier this year, the SFP Research Fund convened a subcommittee of the board referred to as the Impact Initiative Committee. The purpose of the committee was to discuss new ways to set expectations in our request for proposals (RFPs) to encourage applicants to think about and articulate impacts associated with possible outcomes of their research projects. By doing so, we wish to ask grantees to think about the end users of their research, and how the research may positively impact clinical practices, policies, or programs. In addition, the second project associated with the Impact Initiative will begin in 2016, and that will involve evaluating grants funded thus far. Please be sure to look for a new large research grant RFP this month.

Competitive research program

Meanwhile, the SFP Research Fund’s 2015 RFP resulted in allocations of more than $4.5 million for large and small research grants focused on family planning and abortion, including career development awards and student/trainee awards, and three types of grants offered for the first time in 2015: Community-based participatory research (CBPR) grants; Interdisciplinary Innovation (I2) grants; and a large multisite grant with funding of up to $1 million. (Read the study abstracts.)

Anu Gomez (center), one of three recipients of a CBPR grant, on a panel at the 2015 Forum, along with previous large grant recipient Christine Dehlendorf (left), Andrea Jackson, and Melissa Gilliam (right), former SFP President.

Engagement Project

We are excited to offer opportunities for our members to become more involved in the Society. In the upcoming weeks, a survey will be emailed to you describing the various committees and volunteer opportunities available. Please be sure to complete the engagement project survey if you are interested in joining a committee or volunteering in 2016.


Lastly, I’d like to thank you for your work throughout the year, and especially for supporting our mission to advance science in family planning, including contraception and abortion, by funding research and promoting the expansion and dissemination of family planning knowledge. We are fortunate to close 2015 with more than 630 fellows, many long-time partners, and a host of new colleagues.


Susan Higginbotham signature
Susan Higginbotham, MEd
Executive Director
Society of Family Planning &
the SFP Research Fund