Current Research Projects

Reproductive Health Service Corps

A consortium of leaders in sexual and reproductive health is launching California’s Reproductive Health Service Corps (RHSC), an unprecedented statewide initiative to improve access to abortion care and training and diversify the state’s reproductive health workforce.

Forty percent of California counties lack an abortion provider. Abortion providers are reporting steep increases in patients traveling from out of state where abortion is no longer available to them. Healthcare learners and providers are eager to help fill those gaps, but many healthcare professionals receive little to no education about their role or skills training in abortion care.  A key component of the program is diversifying the workforce to reflect the racial, ethnic, linguistic, and economic diversity of communities across California. California’s RHSC program stands out from other state programs by offering full-spectrum reproductive health training to all members of the care team—registered nurses, nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives, physician’s assistants, licensed midwives, physicians, licensed vocational nurses, doulas, medical assistants, community health workers and paramedics will all be eligible. Over the next four years, the program will help fill provider gaps in underserved areas and provide funding and technical assistance to help clinics integrate services.

The consortium is coordinated by Training in Early Abortion for Comprehensive Healthcare (TEACH) and includes TEACH; California State University East Bay, Department of Nursing; Nurses for Sexual and Reproductive Health (NSRH); and University of California, San Francisco’s primary care advanced practice nursing specialties, Black Midwifery Fellowship, and Abortion Care Training Incubator for Outstanding Nurse Scholars (ACTIONS) program.

California Future of Abortion Council/Assembly Bill 1918

ACTIONS is proud to participate in the California Future of Abortion Council (CA FAB Council), a coalition representing sexual and reproductive health care providers, reproductive rights and reproductive justice advocacy organizations, legal and policy experts, researchers, and advocates, with the support of California policymakers. In September 2021, with the constitutional right to abortion facing the most severe threats since Roe v. Wade, the CA FAB Council convened to recommend policy proposals supporting equitable and affordable access to abortion care for Californians and all who seek care here. One of these proposals was AB 1918, which establishes a reproductive health service corps to expand access to reproductive health care, including abortion care, to all Californians. This bill was conceptualized and championed by ACTIONS predoctoral fellow Bethany Golden, MS, RN, CNM, who is pursuing her doctorate degree at the UCSF School of Nursing. Learn more about this effort in Science of Caring

Nursing the Abortion Curriculum in California

In Summer 2022 Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health awarded ACTIONS Project Director Nikki Lanshaw, MPH a grant from its CORE Funding to assess the current state of abortion care training in California nursing programs. To our knowledge, a state-wide survey to assess abortion curriculum in California nursing programs has never been published, nor have baccalaureate programs been included in surveys about the availability of or desire for abortion training in their programs. 

Sacramento Perinatal Birth Equity

In Spring 2021, ACTIONS partnered with the UCSF Institute for Health Policy Studies to conduct a survey and interviews of practicing midwives in the Sacramento region and conduct follow-up in-depth interviews with these midwives. Our report on the results was published in August 2022 and presented at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting in October 2022. The findings have informed a larger statewide survey of California midwives launched in 2022.

So You Want to Be a Midwife?

In Spring 2021 ACTIONS partnered with Jennie Joseph at Commonsense Childbirth School of Midwifery in Florida to launch a national survey of people of color interested in becoming midwives. Our survey received nearly 1,000 responses. Two abstracts based on this data were accepted and presented at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting in October 2022. We have published two papers from this data, and are writing a third, along with supervising a master’s student’s thesis using these data. We also received such an overwhelming willingness from survey participants to share their stories that we created a website with Commonsense to share some of these “future midwife” stories: