Saturday, December 1, 2012

LARC-ing around the Cleveland Department of Public Health

Our bulletin board at McCafferty Health Center's waiting room

Another component of our Capstone project in promoting reproductive health in the teenage population included creating a bulletin board about long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs) such as intra-uterine devices or IUDs (ParaGard and Mirena), "the implant" (Implanon), and "the shot" (DepoProvera or “Depo”). LARCs act for a longer period of time than day-to-day contraception like the pill but can be reversed unlike sterilization. More so, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recently in October endorsed the use of LARCs in adolescents because of their high effectiveness to address adolescents’ high rates of sexual activity and failure to properly use other contraceptives. Although the clinic only offers Depo, clinicians also encouraged the use of other LARCs and referred patients to appropriate places like Planned Parenthood. Also, with the many birth control options available, we incorporated a quiz called “Which method is right for your body and your life?” 
With politics debating over women's health and contraception earlier in the semester, I was able to see how these decisions would impact those who need these services the most. One moment that holds significance was with a young woman whose pregnancy test came back positive. The pregnancy was unplanned and came as a shock to this young woman who already has children and is currently in school to advance her career. Her realization of this turning point in her life being turned around because of this unplanned pregnancy showed me the importance of providing contraception, especially to adolescents who cannot afford to have a child. Therefore, I strongly believe birth control is indeed a right for women because it is their body and their lives. I was happy to do something creative that can last long after my time at CDPH, it was the least I could for all that I learned from the wonderful staff. I hope the bulletin board will be helpful for the clinic’s patients too!

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