Meet Dr. C, Our 2024 Jane Elizabeth Fisher Legacy Scholar.

May 14, 2024
Learn more about Jane, apply for our special Scholarship Fund, and Donate to the Fund here!

We are thrilled to introduce you to this year’s recipient of GRR!’s Jane Elizabeth Fisher Legacy Scholarship Fund, whom we’ll call Dr. C! The following is a conversation in which Dr. C explains what this funding means to them and their patients, in their own words.

1. Hello! We’re the Grandmothers for Reproductive Rights. Why is learning how to provide abortion care important to you, as a physician who is specializing in pediatrics and internal medicine?

Hi, I’m Dr. C! I’m an internal medicine and pediatrics resident doctor, which means I’m a doctor doing a 4 year residency in pediatrics (for children) and internal medicine (for adults) and taking my certifying board exams in both. Many doctors and other healthcare professionals will come in contact with patients who want an abortion or have had an abortion. It is therefore critically important we have the accurate medical information needed to empower our patients to be active partners in their own healthcare.

Like all physicians, I take my oath to do no harm very seriously. For me, that means supporting the autonomy, or ability to make one’s own decisions, of the patient sitting on the exam table in my clinic. Violating my patient’s bodily autonomy causes pain and suffering. Abortion is an incredibly complex topic and I recognize some oppose it due to their religious and moral beliefs. It is important to recognize that others, like myself, choose to provide abortion care because of my religious and moral beliefs. For 14 years, I have trained for the honor and responsibility of caring for my community. Like all healthcare decisions, these intimate conversations about abortion are between me and my patient. 

2. What did you have to go through to find an abortion procedure training program? Why did you end up looking to the Midwest Access Project for resources, as a resident from Arizona with limited time and money?

Even though I was interested in abortion training before I applied to residency, the shifting political landscape meant I spent almost 2 years finding the right program. Many Family Medicine residencies and Obstetrics and Gynecology residencies require exposure to abortions in order to fulfill graduation requirements, so understandably residents from choice-restrictive states must be prioritized for this training. However, you don’t have to be a family medicine doctor or Ob/Gyn doctor to provide safe abortion care!

Midwest Access Project works with resident physicians to help fill gaps in sexual and reproductive healthcare. They matched me with a clinic that would help me achieve my clinical goals within the limitations of a 4 week rotation. For many residents, 4 weeks of training can cost >$6500 with hotels, plane, car rental, state licensure, food, and background screening costs. I am grateful my training was supported through Midwest Access Project, Medical Students for Choice, the Slepian Fund, and Grandmothers for Reproductive Rights!

3. Can you describe the training that the fund contributed to making possible?

Other residents in the area of family medicine, obstetrics, internal medicine, and pediatrics residents have also rotated through the same abortion clinic but because I was the only trainee rotating through the clinics during this month, I received very personalized training. My four week rotation included training in long acting reversible contraception, aspiration abortions, medication abortions, oral contraception, and gender affirming care. My patients were incredibly diverse: students, LGBTQIA patients, tattooed and pierced, and others with large diamond rings. Some patients were single parents, others were cisgender men, happily married women with other children, deeply religious folks, women with molar pregnancies, women who spoke other languages and in high paying jobs, women in safe relationships and some in domestic violence relationships. All sorts of people seek abortion and contraception. 

Alongside physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants, I learned how to pull the skin taut to smoothly place a Nexplanon and titrate testosterone during a gender affirming care follow up visit. I used diagrams from to chat with patients who simply wanted to stop their periods (no medical reason to have your period!). With close supervision, I learned how to smoothly fan the ultrasound probe or rotate the aspiration catheter during electric aspiration to ensure the uterus was completely empty – critical skills for preventing life-threatening infections that happen if women do not have access to safe abortion care. I counseled dozens of women on their medication abortions and was shocked to realize how much safer these medications are than most of the medications I prescribe in my clinic every day, like heart or diabetes medications. 

These clinics also provided ultrasounds and prenatal care because being pro-choice is just that: supporting a patient’s bodily autonomy to either continue or terminate a pregnancy and to do both of these safely. 

5. Do you have concrete plans, if any, to provide abortion care?

I love teaching medical students and residents and it would be amazing to incorporate abortion education into the curriculum for our trainees– even if they never provide abortions. This is for the same reason all medical students must have exposure to surgery during medical student rotations, even if you decide this isn’t for you! All physicians should have a solid foundation in medically accurate information. That’s how we become good doctors.

In my own career, I would like to complete locums tenens where I can travel to a certain clinic for a set period of time (months, weeks, days) to perform abortions. This would increase access to safe abortion care in rural communities. I would like to be able to provide medication abortions via telehealth as part of my clinic work since the medications used–like Mifepristone and Misoprostol–are such safe and effective medications.

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