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Dear SFP colleagues,

One of the first things that I did when I became SFP President was to speak with each of the board members about what the organization could and should do. These ideas have begun to inform our work. I would also like to hear from you all, as it is your organization. Over the next year, SFP Executive Director Susan Higginbotham, MEd, and I will be writing regularly to keep you up to date on SFP activities. In turn, we hope that you will contact us with your ideas and concerns.

In this first newsletter, I will touch briefly upon our most recent board meeting, our new grants, and new opportunities that SFP offers its members.

Dr. Tracy WeitzDr. Carrie CwiakDr. Carolyn WesthoffI am delighted to chair the board for two years. We had our first board meeting this winter and welcomed new members Tracy Weitz, PhD, MPA; Carrie Cwiak, MD, MPH; and Carolyn Westhoff, MD, MSc. In a typical meeting, we deal with the administrative issues of running the organization but also take time to plan and think strategically. In our last meeting, we spent a lot of time reviewing the surveys from the annual meeting—the North American Forum on Family Planning held last October—in order to make recommendations to the scientific committee for next year's meeting.

Overall, the conference was very well-received, and we had many good ideas. For example, this year, we will have a session on tough clinical cases—an idea that came from a number of attendees. We will also have a plenary session on contraception for women with complex medical issues. The conference feedback is extremely useful and helps to make each meeting better.

Tracy also led us through a strategic planning process on board composition. One of our major areas of focus is to ensure that the board has the expertise and diversity that our organization needs to function well. Please let us know your ideas about board composition and areas to focus on.

2012 research funding cycle

One of SFP's core functions is to serve as a source of research funding for our members. A number of you applied in the current grant cycle. We received 48 large grant proposals, 14 small grant proposals, 11 career development proposals (7 junior and 4 mentor), and 22 medical student proposals. We have a great team of top-notch researchers who will serve as independent reviewers and make funding recommendations to the board.

For the first time this year, we also issued a multi-site request for proposals. I thank Carolyn Westhoff, Carrie Cwiak and Beverly Winikoff, MD, MPH, for serving on the grant committee with Susan and me. We received 6 applications for Principal Investigator, and 24 organizations applied to be a site on the study.

Many of the grant ideas have come from members. If you have other ideas for funding mechanisms, please share them with Susan. As many of you know, this year we launched a second nonprofit corporation—a C4 organization that serves as the umbrella for our grant-making activities. The C4 organization houses the SFP Research Fund and also the fund for the Fellowship in Family Planning research studies. I do not expect the membership to feel any effect from this change.

The SFP website

Finally, remember to take a moment to look at our website. It is an underused but rich resource. There is a lot of information about the grant process, grants that have been funded, other research opportunities, and upcoming events. These are regularly updated—please contribute any opportunities that you know about.

We also have permission from Contraception to post our clinical guidelines on the website. Many people use the guidelines in fellow and resident teaching. We also share the guidelines with other organizations to help inform evidence-based practice.

Thank you again for being engaged in this organization. I look forward to hearing from you.


Melissa Gilliam signature
Melissa Gilliam, MD, MPH
SFP President