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Profile: ANSIRH (Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health)

The Bay Area is home to many fabulous organizations focused on reproductive health and justice working on local, regional, and national levels. To connect, share, and showcase the exciting work being done by all these organizations we have been profiling them here in our blog. We started in October with a profile of ACCESS Women’s Health Justice, and in December we profiled the SFGH Volunteer Doula Group. Today we are focusing on ANSIRH. Thank you to Megan Burgoyne who took time to answer our questions, as follows.
                                                             
What is a bit of ANSIRH’s history?
Felicia Stewart, MD, and Tracy Weitz, PhD, MPA co-founded ANSIRH in 2002. Both women were working within the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco and determined that a new program was needed that focused on clinical care and public policy on abortion. That program became ANSIRH. The name ANSIRH (Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health) developed out of a belief that science, not politics, should determine care and policy, and that we should always be moving the field forward rather than simply holding ground. What started as a conversation has turned into over 10 years of groundbreaking research and collaboration across multiple disciplines. ANSIRH has grown in its scope, depth, and numbers with over 30 researchers and staff members focusing on advancing science and public policy in reproductive health.
                                                                                                                 
What is the overall mission of ANSIRH? Who does it serve and how?
ANSIRH’s mission is to ensure that reproductive health care and policy are grounded in evidence through multi-disciplinary research, training and advocacy. ANSIRH’s multi-disciplinary team includes clinicians, researchers and scholars in the fields of demography, sociology, anthropology, nursing, psychology, public health, economics, medicine and law. Our research agenda reflects our long-term vision of improving the health and well-being of women:
• We are examining the issues faced by advanced practice clinicians (nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and physician assistants) who are providers of early aspiration abortion care.
• We are documenting the health systems, policy, and training barriers that limit the provision of second trimester abortion and the effects of those limits on clinical care.
• We are measuring the effect of unintended pregnancy on women’s lives.
• Through in-depth interviews and ethnography, we are collecting and analyzing women’s and clinical providers’ perceptions of abortion care.
                                                                                     
What is one major success of the organization?
Due to the breadth of our work, it’s hard to choose just one major ANSIRH success. We have two large studies currently underway that have the opportunity to make a significant impact on the lives of women across California and the country. The Turnaway Study is a prospective longitudinal study examining the effects of unintended pregnancy on women’s lives. The major aim of the study is to describe the mental health, physical health, and socioeconomic consequences of receiving an abortion compared to carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term. Initial results are beginning to emerge as we’re about half way through this study, for more information visit http://www.ansirh.org/research/turnaway.php.
                                                                                                
Our second largest study is the Health Workforce Pilot Project (HWPP) #171, a California-based, multi site, six-year study of advanced practice clinicians—nurse practitioners (NPs), certified nurse-midwives (CNMs), and physician assistants (PAs)—as providers of early aspiration abortion care. Operating under a mechanism of the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD), HWPP #171 is a pilot project of 50-60 advanced practice clinicians who are being trained in abortion care and provision at health facilities around the state, using ANSIRH’s Early Abortion Training Workbook. Currently in the final year of the project, the HWPP Project researchers and staff are in the process of analyzing and publishing the training and practice evaluation data on the safety and effectiveness of NPs, CNMs, and PAs as abortion providers. For more information on that study, visit http://www.ansirh.org/research/hwpp.php.
                                                                                                                             
What would you like to see happen with ANSIRH in the next 1-5 years?
ANSIRH plays a unique role as a multi-disciplinary research program focused on reproductive health. ANSIRH focuses on engaging directly with clinicians who perform abortions and the women who have them, and is dedicated to translating that research into changes in clinical care and public policy. The ability to research the difficult social questions, analyze the data, and make it available to advocates can have a profound effect on how reproductive health care is delivered and how laws and regulations are written. Because of this, we would like to see ANSIRH’s national presence grow as well as our ability to contribute evidence-based research to an often ideologically driven political conversation.
                                                                                                  
Is it possible for others to get involved, and if yes, how?
We welcome interest from undergraduate or graduate students interested in reproductive health and volunteering or working as interns for school credit in our office. We also encourage engagement with our work through social media – following, commenting, liking, and sharing our work through the ANSIRH blog, Facebook, and Twitter accounts.
                                                                                                                     
Where can people find more information on the organization?
We have lots of great resources and information about who we are, what we do, and what our research finds on our website: www.ansirh.org. You can also stay up-to-date on our latest research through our social media sites – ANSIRH blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

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