Supporting Local Initiatives

Download a pdf version of the 2010 Policymaker Roundtables and Policymaker Leadership Institutes summaries.

2010 Policymaker Roundtables

In 2010, the Urban Initiative for Reproductive Health supported five local partners in hosting roundtables to train advocates and local elected and public health officials on reproductive health and justice issues, while providing them with materials, messaging, policy ideas, and networking opportunities at the city and county levels.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake

In Baltimore, MD, the Healthy Teen Network and the Baltimore City Health Department hosted a roundtable to release their report on teen pregnancy, which was done in conjunction with the Baltimore Department of Health, Urban Health Institute at Johns Hopkins University, and Center for Adolescent Health. The breakfast featured opening remarks from Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. Dr. Patricia Paluzzi, Healthy Teen Network’s President/CEO, presented the strategic plan to address teen births and facilitated a discussion to develop a plan of action in Baltimore City.

In Chicago, IL, the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health (ICAH) hosted Young, Smart and Pregnant: Overcoming Barriers to Academic Success, featuring teens from their Young Parent Alliance. More than 125 advocates and representatives from Chicago Public Schools, the Department of Health, and offices of elected officials gathered to highlight the challenges pregnant and parenting youth face and to build support for the Pregnant and Parenting Youth Bill of Rights. Attendees also shared resources and programs available. ICAH Executive Director Soo Ji Min moderated the event which included adolescent health care specialist Dr. Virginia Bishop; Dawn Boyd, MSN; Joan Derrick, a teacher from Chicago’s only public school for pregnant and parenting youth; and two parenting youth, all of whom shared their ideas to improve the lives of pregnant and parenting youth in Chicago.

In Montana, NARAL Pro-Choice Montana Foundation hosted two roundtables to expand their community-by-community approach to increasing access to comprehensive sexuality education. The first was held in Missoula, where the school district’s Health Enhancement Curriculum was up for review. The next roundtable took place in Helena with the Montana Partnership for Sex Education. Teresa Burson, the Curriculum and Literacy Director of the Helena School District, Mike Henderson from Lewis and Clark County Health Department, and two Helena youth emphasized the need for a new curriculum. After community feedback and a revision process, Helena School District trustees finalized the health enhancement curriculum including sexuality education and approved it on October 12.

Dr. Dolores Gunn, Councilwoman Hazel Erby,
Dr. Terry Mason, Commissioner Melba Moore and National
Council of Jewish Women President, Farilyn Hale

In St. Louis, MO, the Teen Pregnancy and Prevention Partnership hosted a roundtable with coalition partners from Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region, National Council of Jewish Women, St. Louis City Health Department, Teen Pregnancy Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, and The Spot. Dr. Terry Mason, Chief Medical Officer of Cook County Health and Hospital, delivered the keynote address, while St. Louis County Department of Health Director Dr. Dolores Gunn and St. Louis City Commissioner of Health Melba Moore addressed the high rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections in the city and county.

Participants discuss key reproductive
health outcomes in Portland, OR

In Portland, OR the Urban League of Portland hosted a roundtable focused on infant mortality and low birth weights in the Portland, Oregon African-American community. The roundtable was a strategic gathering of key elected officials and community stakeholders to explore issues of low birth weight, infant mortality, and maternal health in Portland. Following presentations about local data on low birth weight and infant mortality in Portland and best practices in reducing infant mortality from around the nation, the Urban League presented policy recommendations for the city and state.

2010 Policymaker Leadership Institutes

In 2010, the Urban Initiative for Reproductive Health supported three local partners in hosting Policymaker Leadership Institutes to train advocates and local elected and public health officials on reproductive health and justice issues, while providing them with materials, messaging, policy ideas, and networking opportunities at the city and county levels.

Karen Ford Manza, Arizona Family Planning
Council CEO, and Mayor Phil Gordon

In Phoenix, Arizona, the Arizona Family Planning Council hosted a Policymaker Leadership Institute to set a reproductive health policy agenda for Phoenix, develop community-based recommendations to reduce health disparities, and improve pregnancy outcomes. Mayor Phil Gordon opened the Institute, expressing his commitment to comprehensive reproductive health care services for women and families in Phoenix. Following opening remarks, James Collins, M.D. from the Department of Neonatology at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, addressed a life-course perspective on racial disparities in birth outcomes. Presentations highlighted culturally-grounded approaches to improve interconception care for Latina mothers and local data highlighting maternal and child health in at-risk Phoenix neighborhoods. Local experts, community advocates, social services providers, and other non-traditional partners had the opportunity to share their experiences and discuss challenges and opportunities to improve health outcomes in Phoenix. Participants prioritized and identified strategies to improve collaboration among health care and social service providers over the next 12-24 months.

Policymaker Leadership Institute Host Committee

In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, New Voices Pittsburgh hosted a Policymaker Leadership Institute to introduce local elected officials to the reproductive justice framework as a strategy for informing public policymaking and to improve the wellbeing of communities of color in the city of Pittsburgh and within Allegheny County. La’Tasha Mayes and Bekezela Mguni opened the event by contextualizing reproductive justice and the work of New Voices Pittsburgh in the community. Imani Walker of the Rebecca Project for Human Rights shared her personal story and advocated for comprehensive familybased treatment for substance abuse. The morning plenary highlighted the current status of women and reproductive health services in Allegheny County with remarks by Dr. Alison Colbert from the Duquesne University School of Nursing, County Jail Warden Ramon C. Rustin, and a formerly incarcerated woman. The afternoon plenary highlighted local policies, services, and advocacy efforts for incarcerated women, featuring Sue Frietsche, Senior Staff Attorney at the Women’s Law Project; Dominique Reed, Women’s De-Carceration Project Coordinator at the Human Rights Coalition/FedUp! Chapter; and, Ngina Wharton, Case Management Supervisor at Renewal, Inc.

Dr. Douglas Kirby

In San Francisco, California, the California School Health Centers Association hosted a Policymaker Leadership Institute for school board members from cities across California on comprehensive sexual health education. Participants learned about the inconsistencies in sexuality education in school districts throughout the state and received a comprehensive overview of the efficacy of various sexuality education curricula by renowned expert Dr. Douglas Kirby. The Institute also featured perspectives from youth and the state PTA president, highlighted resources for curriculum selection, and discussed a framework for culturally-appropriate programs. Attendees also strategized future steps to improve sex education.

© 2012 National Institute for Reproductive Health