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Dear SFP fellows and supporters,

As September arrives, it means the SFP office is focused squarely on the upcoming SFP Annual Meeting and Reproductive Health 2009, set to begin on September 30th in Los Angeles. I am excited about the overall conference agenda, and in particular, about the SFP specific functions.

The first SFP event is the Career Development Seminar, entitled Designing and Performing Studies Using Survey Data, which will be held from 2–5 pm on September 30. This seminar is a culmination of several conference calls with the SFP Junior Fellows Committee, and was informed by a survey of the junior fellows in order to gauge their topics of interest and ongoing career support needs. Faculty for this seminar include Lawrence Finer, PhD; Melissa Gilliam, MD, MPH; Cynthia Harper, PhD; Lisa Harris, AB, MD, PhD. Sixty attendees have already registered for this session, so if you have any interest, please sign up before we reach capacity for what I believe will be the best SFP seminar yet.

The next SFP event is the Lunch & Learn to introduce our Mentor Project, which will be held from 12:30 until 2 pm on Thursday, October 1. This session is only open to SFP members and, again, is a result of feedback from our junior fellows survey. The SFP Senior Fellows Committee supports this project and has initiated a survey of senior researchers in order to determine availability and interest in mentoring a junior fellow, especially those who are the only family planning folks at their institutions or who are facing open hostility to their work. Join us for an informal setting to meet others interested in the Mentor Project.

From 2 until 3 pm, also on Thursday the 1st, we will host the annual SFP Awards Presentations. I am pleased to inform you that this year’s presentations are offered in a general conference plenary session—so non-SFP attendees can benefit from the information and learn more about our mission. We are delighted to have the opportunity to honor Jacqueline Darroch, PhD, as this year’s recipient of the SFP Lifetime Achievement Award. Jacqui will present “A Century of Contraceptive Use in America: Lessons from the Past, Challenges of the Future.” J. Joseph Speidel, MD, MPH, is this year’s recipient of the Allan Rosenfield Award for Lifetime Contributions to International Family Planning. We look forward to Joe’s insights from a distinguished career and his presentation, entitled "Family Planning: Progress, Lessons Learned, and the Unfinished Agenda."

The Annual SFP Business Meeting will be from 5 until 6 pm on October 1 and is only open to SFP fellows, junior fellows, and candidate fellows. At this meeting, the voting results for the SFP board positions and the suggested bylaws revision will be announced, together with some business updates. The highlight of this year’s annual meeting will be the brief presentations by our 2007 grantees on their research projects. (See summaries for those studies.)

Join us for a reception immediately after the business meeting in honor of our awardees and then for our annual SFP dinner from 7 until 8:45 pm. We will have two special recognition awards at the dinner, yet since the award presentations will take place earlier in the day, this year’s dinner will primarily be focused on networking and socializing. The SFP annual dinner is a benefit of membership, so only SFP fellows and their guests are invited to attend.

As you know, SFP works collaboratively with ARHP on the scientific abstract review, yet we are the lead partner in this aspect of the conference due to SFP’s specific expertise with respect to the scientific aspect of family planning and abortion. SFP fellows and board members have been significantly involved this year in the abstract reviews, will be functioning as discussants for the oral presentations, and will serve as judges for the abstract awards selection. I want to extend our appreciation to all of our SFP volunteers who have been so critical to the work this year including grant reviewers, committee members, and those who have assisted with abstracts. Thank you all for your time and expertise!

Looking forward to seeing you in LA,

Susan Higginbotham signature