December 6, 2012
I am writing to report on our progress, and to invite your support as CHOICES completely transforms the way that reproductive health care is understood and delivered in Memphis, TN.
CHOICES is on track to create a unique, comprehensive sexual and reproductive health practice that better reflects the life-long needs and experiences of women, men, and families in our community. We believe that this new model of comprehensive care is the best way to support a community in achieving and maintainin good sexual and reproductive health.
In the last three years we have experienced tremendous growth in services, visibility, and impact. In terms of clinical services, we have moved from providing one service (1st trimester abortions) for more than 35 years, to now offering these services:
- FertilityProgram. Offering pre-conception counseling, fertility consultations & intra-cervical and intra-uterine inseminations for single women and same and opposite sex couples. We are one of very few centers in the country to offer insemination services for sero-discordant couples (one partner is HIV+).
- STI testing and treatment. Providing non-judgmental, inexpensive, walk-in testing and treatment services for men, women and teens.
- Gay & Lesbian Health Care. Providing health care services in a safe and welcoming environment for gay, lesbian, and bisexual people.
- Transgender Health Care. Offering general reproductive health care along with hormone management, counseling, and appropriate referrals for transgender men and women.
- PAP Smears & Cervical Health Services. Offering PAP smears and colposcopies in office, and referrals for LEEP procedures if more extensive testing is indicated.
- Vaginal Health Services. Treating general vaginitis and vaginosis with a care model that always starts with the most natural remedies.
- Sedation Services. CHOICES is the only clinic in Tennessee that offers CRNA administered IV sedation for pregnancy termination procedures.
- LARCs. CHOICES has long been a proponent of long-acting, reversible methods of contraception (LARCs) and our clinician is one of the MidSouth’s most experienced in IUD insertions. We also offer implants (Implanon/Explanon), another long-acting, reversible method of contraception.
- Menopause Management. Our clinicians help manage the symptoms of menopause starting with a diet and lifestyle assessment and review, and moving toward more direct interventions if indicated.
- Miscarriage Management. After diagnosing a pregnancy loss, we offer women a range of miscarriage treatment options including watchful waiting, D&C’s, or medical interventions.
- Pregnancy Terminations. CHOICES continues to offer safe 1st trimester surgical and medication abortions, and is the only local clinic to offer the option of private appointments.
- Ryan White Services for HIV+ Clients. As a designated Ryan White provider CHOICES offers a range of reproductive health services at no charge for qualified HIV+ men and women
- Pregnancy Option Counseling. CHOICES offers comprehensive options counseling for women facing an unintended pregnancy including referrals for adoptions and pre-natal care.
- Free Pregnancy and HIV Testing. CHOICES provides these important services to anyone in the community and to all of our patients free of charge.
Contributions from the community have enabled CHOICES to provide clinical training in reproductive health to a range of practicing providers and health care professionals:
- CHOICES now partners with the national Association of Reproductive Health Professionals to provide accredited Continuing Medical Education in reproductive health to physicians, nurses, and other clinicians working in gynecology, primary care, infectious disease and pediatrics.
- CHOICES provides clinical training to students in the Certified Nurse Midwife Program at Vanderbilt University, School of Nursing, medical residents and graduate nursing students at University of Tennessee Medical School, and nurse practitioner students at the University of Memphis.
- CHOICES’ clinician has been invited to provide training in IUD insertions to family planning practitioners with the Shelby County Health Department.
- CHOICES’ efforts to fully integrate HIV services and reproductive health care have received national and international attention. Ours was one of only two US programs to be included last year in a UN AIDS international report on HIV/SRH integration, and our staff continually receives invitations to speak about this work at meetings and conferences around the country.
With support from community members like you, CHOICES’ staff has been able to impact sexual and reproductive health care at state, national and international levels:
- Presented on our successful Parallel Paths project in Nashville to the Tennessee Department of Health’s statewide meeting of HIV prevention and care providers in September.
- Facilitated a 3 hour seminar titled “Listen to Women: Gaps, Barriers and Solutions to Recognizing the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Women Living with HIV” at the United States Conference on AIDS in Las Vegas in October.
- Coordinated the panel “Achieving sexual and reproductive health & rights for women & girls living with HIV through innovative gender-based community approaches” in the Women’s Networking Zone, International AIDS Conference in July in Washington, D.C.
- Presented on the panel “The State of Integration” at the first ever joint meeting of the Funders Network on Population, Reproductive Health, and Rights & Funders Concerned about AIDS in July in Washington, D.C.
- Presented about our innovative Ryan White services on the “Living and Thriving Positive” panel in April at the From Abortion Rights to Social Justice: Building the Movement for Reproductive Freedom conference at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA.
People are paying attention, and we are beginning to receive honors and recognition for our work:
- CHOICES was voted Best Women’s Health Center by readers of Natural Awakenings Magazine.
- Our Assistant Director, Jennifer Marshall Pepper, was selected to participate in Johnson & Johnson’s highly competitive Health Care Executive Training Program at UCLA in July, where she designed a Community Health Improvement Project that CHOICES will implement over the next two years. Of 50 participants, Jen was one of 6 chosen to make a formal presentation on her project to the class and distinguished guests.
- CHOICES’ work was profiled in a special report entitled “Abortion On the Line” by the Nashville paper The Tennessean in May.
Your tax-deductible contribution to CHOICES in any amount will help make these all these programs and services possible for our community. You can make your gift online at http://MemphisChoices.org/donate, or you can send a contribution by check to: CHOICES, 1726 Poplar Ave., Memphis, TN 38104.
Thank you so much for your support of reproductive health and justice for all people, and for your ongoing support of CHOICES. Here’s to an even greater 2013.
Rebecca L. Terrell, Executive Director