392: Emergency Contraception, PH Workforce Panel

On Day Three of Public Health Week, Kelly Cleland, Executive Director of the American Society for Emergency Contraception, says college students need access to emergency contraception and related services; a new ASTHO blog article outlines how...

On Day Three of Public Health Week, Kelly Cleland, Executive Director of the American Society for Emergency Contraception, says college students need access to emergency contraception and related services; a new ASTHO blog article outlines how community partnership can improve access to family planning; ASTHO CEO Dr. Mike Fraser is part of a panel to discuss ways to improve the state of the public health workforce; and there is still time to register for ASTHO’s Health Equity Summit happening this April in Atlanta and online.  

NPHW Daily Themes- Reproductive And Sexual Health 

Opportunities and Barriers to Contraception Access on College Campuses

The Exodus Of State And Local Public Health Employees: Separations Started Before And Continued Throughout COVID-19

Health Equity Summit: A Movement for Justice


ASTHO logo



This is Public Health Review Morning Edition for Wednesday, April 5, 2023. I'm Robert Johnson.

Now, today's news from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.



We really believe that contraceptive care is essential as a part of the healthcare that college students need, in particular.


On day three of National Public Health Week, we consider reproductive and sexual health.

Kelly Cleland is executive director of the American Society for Emergency Contraception.


Everybody needs access to contraception. But when we think about a college student population, they're at college to build their futures, to plan out their lives. And so, pregnancy prevention is really critical in making sure that college students don't have an unintended pregnancy that can derail their plans.


Cleland says college students face several obstacles when trying to access contraceptive care, including time, transportation, and privacy.


We also see a lot of concerns about privacy. Do parents see the bills from the insurance that students are using? Is it listing out what they're getting? We saw a recent example where students at one university that we're working with are having EC listed on the bill that their parents see.


Cleland's organization so far is working on more than 90 college campuses in 34 states.


Part of what we do at the American Society for Emergency Contraception is work with student groups to help them advocate for better access on campus. That includes advocating with the Student Health Service to make sure that all forms of emergency contraception are available at an affordable price to make sure.

And also, students are doing direct peer-to-peer distribution, so they provide EC directly to each other. And then finally, we have lots of amazing students advocating for vending machines on campus that provide affordable emergency contraception 24/7 whenever students need it.


The American Public Health Association has identified seven themes to examine this week. We began our coverage Monday—we wrap up next Tuesday. You can read more using the link in the show notes.


A new ASTHO blog article reviews work done to increase access to emergency contraception on college campuses. O'Keyla Cooper has more.


Access to comprehensive contraceptive care with fewer barriers increases positive health outcomes and gives people the ability to make informed decisions.

In ASTHO's latest blog, find out how community-based organizations, state agencies, and community colleges can partner to improve access and increase awareness of family planning services. Read the full blog using the link found in the show notes.



Also today, public health has a lot of work to do to attract, retain, and support people in agencies across the states and territories. Billions of federal dollars allocated to help address workforce concerns are necessary, but ASTHO CEO Dr. Mike Fraser says money is just part of the solution.


The tendency is to push for big federal investment, which obviously is appreciated. Big national programs, which obviously are important. But this is a state problem. So, you know, we have to go state by state, territory by territory, and obviously the extension locally, tribally, and really identify what's going on in these certain cases.


Fraser joined a panel discussion on the public health workforce hosted by Health Affairs on Tuesday. De Beaumont Foundation president and CEO, Dr. Brian Castrucci, also was part of the panel. He and Fraser are among those who wrote an article for Health Affairs sharing data about job losses.


What we saw here with these data is that what happened between 2017 and 2021 is that people who said they were planning to leave in '17, they actually left. And people who said they weren't planning to leave—they left, too.


Fraser says the numbers are a call to action.


This is a complex problem. It's a pipeline problem. It's a retention problem. It's a policy problem. And with the brainpower we have in a group like this, I think we can certainly advance this issue and begin to address it in many ways. But the notion that, you know, $3.2 billion, we've solved this problem, let's move on—we're nowhere near that yet. And we've got to get real serious about the urgency of this.


Tomorrow, we hear from two others who joined the panel, ASTHO President Dr. Anne Zink and former ASTHO president Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott. You also can read the article using the link in the show notes.


Finally this morning, make your plans now to attend ASTHO's Health Equity Summit later this month. You can join the event in-person or online. It's an opportunity to learn how to create a movement for justice. Find out more about this summit in Atlanta on April 25–26 using the link in the show notes.


That'll do it for today's newscast. We're back tomorrow morning with more ASTHO news and information.

I'm Robert Johnson. You're listening to Public Health Review Morning Edition. Have a great day.

Kelly Cleland MPH

Executive Director, American Society for Emergency Contraception

Brian Castrucci DrPh MA

President and CEO of the de Beaumont Foundation