Family planning health services research

Unplanned pregnancy is a problem in BC, especially among vulnerable populations who face stark economic, education-related, and work consequences. Women in BC spend almost 30 years trying to avoid pregnancy, compared with an average of less than three years spent pregnant or trying to conceive. Current surveys indicate that few women use highly effective contraception methods. Half of all pregnancies are unplanned and almost a third of BC women have an abortion. BC has Canada’s second highest abortion rate, and without the recent rate declines seen nationally. Moreover, vulnerable populations are overrepresented among those with unplanned pregnancies and especially among those seeking abortion.

Dr. Wendy Norman’s research program will develop evidence to support improvements to family planning access, quality of care, and health policy. This research will involve innovation end-users (health professionals, health system leaders, and an advisory board of citizens) in problem identification, prioritization, and research design leading to facilitated uptake of solutions. Norman’s research utilizes content expertise, collaborations, and trust established over decades as a respected and effective physician leader in this field. This program builds on more than $1.3 million dollars of project-based funding already in place and infrastructure support from research institutes, hospitals, and the University of British Columbia. Research partnerships have been established with all relevant health service organizations and health decision leaders in BC and are now forming with those across Canada.

This innovative program of research and capacity-building will transform health service delivery of family planning in BC and throughout Canada. Women, especially among vulnerable populations, will experience improved access to high quality family planning via. equity-enhancing strategies within BC’s evolving health-care system.