Original research article published in the Journal of Pediatric Adolescent Gynocology
Many pediatric providers are not able to adequately provide comprehensive counseling and the full range of birth control methods to adolescents. Access to comprehensive contraceptive counseling can better empower adolescents to select their preferred method. School-based health centers (SBHCs) are the first interaction many adolescents have with the health care system. Providing contraceptive services through these centers can increase access to comprehensive and non-stigmatizing health services, as demonstrated in research from Beyond the Pill at the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health. The study, "Improving Capacity at School-based Health Centers to Offer Adolescents Counseling and Access to Comprehensive Contraceptive Services", assessed an initiative to train providers at school-based health centers (SBHCs) to offer students the full range of contraceptive methods.
The training was informed by an equity framework and focused on issues specific to offering long-acting reversible contraceptives. Furthermore, the importance of patients’ reproductive autonomy, issues around coercion and provider bias, and the importance consent for patients' requests were emphasized through the training which was administered in 11 contraceptive trainings at SBHCs across the United States from 2016-2019. Researchers found that after attending these trainings, providers were significantly more likely to report having enough experience to counsel on IUDs and implants and clinicians' skills with contraceptive devices improved, including for a newly available low-cost IUD. The authors concluded that offering evidence-based training is a promising approach to increase counseling and access to comprehensive contraceptive services at SBHCs, especially for low-income students who come from backgrounds where contraception is not culturally acceptable to discuss.
For more resources on this topic, visit the NYSBHA's Reproductive & Sexual Health page.