James H. Ware Award 2024: Julia Hummel Jimenez

Awardee: Julia Hummel Jimenez
Program: MPH in Health Policy
Project Title: Public Education and Community Engagement to Combat Anti-Abortion Crisis Pregnancy Centers
Organization: Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts

The project aims to advance health equity by reducing the harm anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) impose on communities across Massachusetts, especially those often targeted by CPCs: people with limited English proficiency (LEP) undocumented communities, and college students.

CPCs are facilities, often operated by major national religious organizations, that advertise offering all pregnancy-related services, but do not actually offer abortion or emergency contraception. CPCs are rarely licensed as medical facilities and primarily attempt to dissuade people from obtaining abortion or contraceptive care. In addition, CPCs also do not provide comprehensive prenatal care or medically accurate information.

Typically located in low-income communities and communities of color, CPCs prey on people in need by offering free pregnancy-related resources and services.

The project comprises research, community engagement, and advocacy efforts. In the first stage, policy research was conducted to inform further action. Firstly, the research was used to equip Massachusetts policymakers, advocates, and stakeholders with workable policy solutions. Secondly, the obtained research is being shared with communities across Massachusetts through community events, events on college campuses and translated materials to reach LEP populations. Focusing on these vulnerable populations helps support larger, community-wide efforts to mitigate the harm caused by CPCs.

MOST REWARDING PART OF THE FIELD EXPERIENCE

I found it especially fulfilling to observe how our research efforts directly contributed to community engagement and facilitated the effective sharing of crucial information across communities in Massachusetts.

ADVICE FOR STUDENTS DOING WORK IN THE FIELD

Public health thrives on interdisciplinary teamwork; embrace the opportunity to collaborate with diverse teams, as it fosters fresh perspectives and leads to innovative solutions for complex health challenges. Stay open to learning from your colleagues – it’s a powerful way to expand your understanding and impact in the field!

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to MaryRose Mazzola, my practicum preceptor and Chief External Affairs Officer at Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM). Your mentorship and ongoing guidance throughout this project were invaluable. I am also grateful to Catherine Kuchel, former legal co-op at PPLM, whose contributions have been instrumental in shaping this project. Additionally, I want to express my appreciation to Kayla Edwards, Project Manager at PPLM’s ASPIRE Center, for your exceptional coordination and support in ensuring the success of our collaborative efforts.

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