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HHS, Upstream Join Forces to Expand Patient Contraceptive Access

Reaffirming HHS’ commitment to tackling reproductive health disparities, the partnership will equip HHS-funded facilities nationwide with the tools to enhance contraceptive access.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has joined forces with Upstream to strengthen access to essential reproductive healthcare by expanding patient contraceptive access in underserved areas. 

Over a five-year period, this public–private partnership will concentrate on identifying underserved areas where individuals of reproductive age struggle to access adequate contraceptive care in primary healthcare facilities. 

Furthermore, the collaboration aims to provide HHS-funded clinics nationwide with family health planning resources and training.  

“The Biden–Harris Administration is steadfast in its commitment to protecting reproductive healthcare in all communities,” Marvin Figueroa, director of the Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs at HHS, said in a press release. “By equipping providers and healthcare facilities with the training and support necessary to expand contraception options and access, we can better empower patients and help address disparities in family planning care.” 

As a first step, HHS and Upstream will provide healthcare providers with free technical assistance, training, and education. The focus will be on contraceptive care in primary care settings, which serve as a crucial point of access for women's healthcare.  

Throughout the multi-year partnership, the organizations will work together to enhance health systems and provider settings, aiming to deliver comprehensive patient-centered care for individuals of reproductive age. 

“We’ve reached a crucial point in history, calling for an expanded approach to dramatically improve contraception access,” said Mark Edwards, CEO of Upstream. “Both HHS and Upstream share a common goal of improving women’s health, increasing access to contraception, and addressing disparities in contraceptive care. Through this partnership, we will ensure healthcare facilities across the US are equipped with the training, tools, and resources needed to offer their patients the high-quality contraceptive care they need and deserve.” 

These efforts by HHS come into full force after the Dobbs decision, in which women now encounter more barriers to reproductive health as clinics close, doctors and women face the looming fear of prosecution, and the education system limits reproductive health education. 

With concerns that the ruling may exacerbate current reproductive health disparities, HHS has committed to combating the challenges faced by women in the aftermath.  

In October, HHS, through the Office of Population Affairs (OPA), made available over $6 million in grant funding specifically allocated for reproductive health research

These actions by the Biden–Harris Administration supplement Title X Family Planning Research grants, Research-to-Practice Center grants, and Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Evaluation and Research grants to further their work on advancing family planning and preventive care services. 

The grant projects then allocated funding to different, selected organizations. HHS stated that the funding would improve service delivery, promote the adoption of healthy behaviors, and reduce existing health disparities. 

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