The effects of abortion training on family medicine residents’ clinical experience

Aleza K. Summit, Marji Gold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: RHEDI, Reproductive Health Education in Family Medicine, offers technical assistance and funding to family medicine residency programs to support integrated opt-out abortion and reproductive health training for residents. This study assessed the impact of this enhanced training on residents’ reproductive health experience. METHODS: Investigator-developed pre- and post-surveys were administered online to 214 residents at 12 family medicine residency programs before and after their RHEDI training experience. Surveys addressed experience in contraception and abortion, attitudes around abortion provision, and post-residency intentions. Descriptive statistics were generated, and statistical tests were performed to assess changes after training. RESULTS: Surveys had a 90% response rate. After the RHEDI enhanced reproductive health rotation, residents reported increased experience in contraception provision, early pregnancy ultrasound, aspiration and medication abortion, and miscarriage management. After training, residents with experience in IUD insertion increased from 85% to 99%, and contraceptive implant insertion experience rose from 60% to 85%. Residents who had performed any abortions increased from 15% to 79%, and self-rated competency in abortion increased. Finally, almost all residents agreed that early abortion was within the scope of family medicine, and training confirmed residents’ intentions to provide reproductive health services after residency. CONCLUSIONS: Integrated training in reproductive health, with an emphasis on abortion, increases residents’ experience and underscores their understanding of the role of these services in family medicine. Increasing the number of family medicine residency programs that offer this training could help prepare family physicians to meet their patients’ needs for reproductive health services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-27
Number of pages6
JournalFamily Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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