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Fam Med. 2013 Mar;45(3):180-6.

A long-term evaluation of a required reproductive health training rotation with opt-out provisions for family medicine residents.

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Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of California, San Francisco. San Francisco, CA 94110, USA.



Family physicians are critical to reproductive health care provision. Previous studies have evaluated the immediate impact of training family physicians in abortion and reproductive health care but have not conducted long-term follow-up of those trained.


In a cross-sectional survey performed in 2009, all 2003--2008 graduates from four family medicine residency programs with a required abortion training rotation with opt-out provisions were asked to participate in a confidential online follow-up survey that was linked to rotation evaluations. The follow-up surveys addressed current reproductive health practice, desire to integrate services in ideal practice, perceived barriers, and desired support for provision of services.


Of 183 eligible graduates, 173 had contact information, and 116 completed the survey. The majority of respondents had provided a range of reproductive health services since residency. Of full training participants, many had performed IUD insertion (72%), endometrial biopsies (55%), miscarriage management (52%), and abortion (27%), compared to 39%, 22%, 17%, and 0% of opt-out training participants, respectively. Of those residents intending future abortion provision, 40% went on to do so. In multivariate analysis among full participants, procedural volume was positively correlated with future abortion provision after controlling for intention to provide abortions, gender, and residency program (adjusted OR=1.42 [95% CI=1.03--1.94]). While most respondents considered comprehensive reproductive health services including miscarriage management and abortion as important to include in their ideal practice, many faced barriers to providing all the services they desired.


Family medicine residency graduates fully participating in abortion training reported increased provision of most reproductive health services compared to opt-out graduates. Many intending to provide abortions reported a variety of barriers to provision. Training programs that provide assistance for overcoming obstacles to practice initiation may improve comprehensive reproductive health provision among graduates.

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