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Teaching and Learning in Medicine


Phenomenon: Reproductive justice (RJ) is defined by women of color advocates as the right to have children, not have children and parent children while maintaining reproductive autonomy. In the United States, physicians have been complicit in multiple historical reproductive injustices, involving coercive sterilization of thousands of people of color, low income, and disabilities. Currently, reproductive injustices continue to occur; however, physicians have no formal RJ medical education to address injustices. The objective of this study was to engage leading advocates within the movement using a Delphi method to identify critical components for such a curriculum. Approach: In 2016, we invited 65 RJ advocates and leaders to participate in an expert panel to design RJ medical education. A 3-round Delphi survey was distributed electronically to identify content for inclusion in an RJ curriculum. In the next 2 survey rounds, experts offered feedback and revisions and rated agreement with including content recommendations in the final curriculum. We calculated descriptive statistics to analyze quantitative data. A team with educational expertise wrote learning outcomes based on expert content recommendations.

Findings: Of the 65 RJ advocates and leaders invited, 41 participated on the expert panel of the Delphi survey. In the first survey, the expert panel recommended 58 RJ content areas through open-ended response. Over the next 2 rounds, there was consensus among the panel to include 52 of 58 of these areas in the curriculum. Recommended content fell into 11 broad domains: access, disparities, and structural competency; advocacy; approaches to reproductive healthcare; contemporary law and policy; cultural safety; historical injustices; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, and intersex health; oppression, power, and bias training; patient care; reproductive health; and RJ definitions. The 97 learning outcomes created from this process represented both unique and existing educational elements.

Insights: A collaborative methodology infused with RJ values can bridge experts in advocacy and academics. New learning outcomes identified through this process can enhance medical education; however, it is just as important to consider education in RJ approaches to care as it is knowledge about that care. We must explore the pedagogic process of RJ medical education while considering that expertise in this area may exist outside of the medical community and thus there is a need to partner with RJ advocates. Finally, we expect to use innovative teaching methods to transform medical education and achieve an RJ focus.


advocacy, curriculum development, health disparities, Reproductive justice





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© 2019 The Authors


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