SARAH VERBIEST

Looking Forward , Sarah Verbiest, founder of Every Woman Southeast, reflects on the new year and what it holds.

For March we’re featuring our Pilot Project from Tennessee, CHOICES – Memphis Center for Reproductive Health and their featured leader is Assistant Director, Jennifer Pepper.

1. How long have you been in your current position? What brought you to the organization and your current work?

I have been with Choices, formerly the Memphis Center for Reproductive Health, since 2006. I came to the organization to serve as their Community Outreach Coordinator, and in 2010, I become Assistant Director. My path as a women’s health educator and advocate began when I was a young adolescent. My mom was the cool mom. She was open and honest about sexual and reproductive health from an early age with me, my brother, and our friends. It drove me crazy as a teenager, but today, my appreciation for her is immeasurable.

2. What are you most excited about or what is your favorite aspect of Choices’ project that provides reproductive life planning and warm referrals in a post-abortion care setting?

Choices is committed to providing comprehensive reproductive health care, and this project is a natural fit with our mission and vision for a healthier Memphis. Women’s reproductive lives are long, complex, and inter-related with many other needs. Everyone at Choices is excited to help women develop goals related to their reproductive live. Our patient educators are also excited to network with other local providers, so we can connect patients to other resources in the community. Providing birth control is just one piece of helping women realize their goals.

3. What do you anticipate will be the biggest challenge with this project?

This project is a major shift in patient education at our organization. Instead of asking women, “what type of birth control would you like?” We are asking, “What are your goals? When do you want to have kids?” Any large change takes time, and our staff is up for the challenge.

4. Can you share any books, articles, websites (or any great resource you’ve found) that helps with your work?

In designing our pilot project, the National Preconception Curriculum and Resources Guide for Clinicians was very helpful, and we recommend it to other clinicians interested in starting this work. We’ve also found a number of great reproductive life planning tools from other fellow reproductive health care providers. Here are just a few we really liked:

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