Stanford Medicine Leaders Call Reproductive Health Expert Committee | News center

Stanford Medicine leaders have convened a committee of experts to address the health care and health equity challenges raised by changes in many states’ abortion laws.

The committee was formed in response to the US Supreme Court decision of June 24 that overturned Roe v. Wade, resulting in a drastic reduction in access to abortion in many US states. Although California has laws protecting access to abortion, the ruling has raised concerns for many medical service providers in the state.

The Stanford Medicine Committee on Reproductive Health Access and Equity was announced at a StanfordMed LIVE event on August 23.

“At Stanford Medicine, we recognize reproductive care, including safe access to abortions, as essential health care,” said Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the School of Medicine, in his keynote address at the event. “We are committed to providing access to such care to the fullest extent permitted by California law and to supporting science-backed health policies.”

Minor is one of the committee’s three executive sponsors, along with David Entwistle, president and CEO of Stanford Health Care, and Paul King, president and CEO of Stanford Medicine Children’s Health. At the event, leaders highlighted the medical center’s commitment to providing comprehensive reproductive health care, acknowledged the uncertainty triggered by the changing legal landscape, and acknowledged the annual celebration of women in the health sector starting on September 1.

“I want to thank Women in Medicine Month and Stanford Health Care’s outstanding clinical women, including those who provide vital reproductive health services to patients in our community,” Entwistle said. “The restriction of these services has profound and damaging consequences for all health care.”

A critical part of the cure

King noted that reproductive services are a key part of the care provided to women and families at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health. “While this is an ever-changing situation, David, Lloyd and I are committed to working with the committee to identify how our institution can support reproductive health in our community and beyond,” she said.

The committee is led by Yvonne Maldonado, MD, professor of pediatrics and of epidemiology and population health; Priya Singh, Chief Strategy Officer and Senior Associate Dean of Stanford Medicine; and Leslee Subak, MD, chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology.

“Like many others, the loss of Roe v. Wade left me deeply concerned, not just personally but as a medical professional,” Maldonado, Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Diversity, said at the event. “Withdrawing essential abortion care endangers women, people who can become pregnant and all those who rely on reproductive health services. This is particularly true of our most vulnerable populations ”.

Subak expressed his concern about the loss of reproductive assistance for women and sexual and gender minorities. “This is a critical time to ensure everyone has breeding choices,” Subak said. “Empowering people with reproductive choice allows them to do so much with their lives.”

The committee was tasked with assessing the needs and concerns of several stakeholder groups, including Stanford Medicine employees, who are impacted by current legal decisions and are soliciting input on actions they should take in the short and long term.

The committee will identify how Stanford Medicine can:

  • support fair, comprehensive and evidence-based reproductive care that protects the safety of patients, teachers, trainees and staff throughout the organization;
  • inform the development of programs and initiatives that address the needs of all stakeholders affected by the Stanford Medicine mission, with a focus on supporting the most vulnerable groups;
  • identify the impact of legal decisions on our local, regional, national and global community, including access to care and research and education programs; And
  • outline opportunities to support reproductive health research, training and education, through its leadership of the biomedical revolution in precision health.

The 25 members of the committee include Stanford experts in different branches of medicine, nursing, diversity and equity, bioethics, law, government affairs, information technology, university and hospital administration, and employee relations.

The committee’s work will result in a series of recommendations it will share with Minor, Entwistle and King. In addition, the committee will provide Stanford Medicine healthcare professionals with up-to-date information on the effects of legal changes on reproductive health, as well as ongoing communications on the results of their work.

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