SRF052: Restrictions on Reproductive Training and Care: A Study on Family Medicine Residency Programs in the U.S.

Suzette Guzman, BA; Emily Godfrey, MD, MPH; Debra Stulberg, MD


Context: Patient-centered counseling about contraception is an important aspect of healthcare for all reproductive-age patients. Catholic hospitals control a growing share of healthcare in the United States, and they operate under directives that prohibit many common reproductive services, including contraception. Many women are unaware of restrictions on reproductive healthcare at Catholic hospitals or clinics associated with Catholic Healthcare systems. Additionally, many Family Medicine (FM) residency applicants do not realize the impact on their training when they choose a residency affiliated with a Catholic hospital system. Without institutional transparency about these training restrictions, FM residency applicants are unable to make informed decisions about where to complete their training. There is a growing number of hospitals that are taken over by Catholic healthcare systems. The extent to which these religious healthcare systems are affecting FM training programs is unknown. Objective: To identify the percentage, names, and locations of FM residency programs that are affiliated with hospitals or healthcare systems that restrict reproductive training due to religious directives. Human Subjects Review: Deemed non-human subject research by University of Chicago IRB. Design: Systematic review of participating FM residency programs listed on the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Electronic Residency Application Service in regards to program religious affiliation using the Catholic Health Association’s online directory and each program’s website. Main outcome measures: Percentage of Catholic-affiliated FM programs. Secondary outcome measures: Percentage of FM programs with other (non-Catholic) religious affiliations, and percentage of FM programs with any training site (not just primary sponsor) that is religious. Anticipated Results: More than ten percent of FM residency programs are anticipated to be Catholic-affiliated. Conclusions: We hope to make our findings available and accessible to FM residency applicants and patients, in order to increase transparency for both FM residents and patients to make informed decisions.
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Debra Stulberg

Great job, Suzette!

Jack 11/21/2020

very interesting research. wonder how residencies assure their residents have full education on reproductive health. thanks

Emily Godfrey 11/22/2020

Suzette- great job! THis project starts a very important discussion about health equity as it relates to primary care training

Mack Ruffin 11/23/2020

I am at Penn State. My health system has integrated two former Catholic Hospitals. Both integrations required we continue the Catholic Mandate. The details are not written down. I have residency programs at both sites that we in place before the integration. Implementing change in reproductive health curriculum is challenging. I have found many unanticipated barriers since the mandate is open to interpretation. In PA, almost all of the Catholic Hospitals have been integrated into larger non-Catholic Health systems. From informal discussions, I have found all have the same required mandate as in my system. How does this information impact your interpretation?

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