Education and Training

Abortion, contraception and sexual health care are essential components of women’s wellbeing around the world. Despite the great need for care, there are barriers to safe reproductive health services – including a shortage of trained health care providers with experience in abortion, family planning and sexual health. For example, the number of US abortion providers decreased by 38% between 1982 and 2005, and some 87% of US counties do not have an abortion provider. In many low-resource countries, the continuous emigration of skilled researchers and providers for better-paid jobs elsewhere hinders efforts to provide quality care.

To address these shortages, the Bixby Center provides training to medical providers, researchers and future leaders in reproductive and sexual health in the United States and internationally. Through our evidence-based and comprehensive training programs, we are equipping the next generation of health care providers, researchers and leaders with reproductive health expertise.

Training for physicians and residents

In the US and Canada, we run two flagship programs that provide the opportunity to develop high-level research and clinical skills in abortion and contraception. The Fellowship in Family Planning trains leaders in family planning, who become experts working in academic medical centers, teaching hospitals, NGOs and research institutions globally. The Fellowship provides opportunities for fellows to work with respected and innovative leaders in the field; learn about abortion, contraception and maternal health in resource-poor countries; conduct publishable research; and obtain a Masters degree. Graduated fellows have already become major contributors to reproductive health research and policy.

The Kenneth J. Ryan Residency Program provides ob-gyn residents the opportunity to develop clinical and research skills in abortion and contraception. The program helps medical school departments comply with training requirements and ensure all obstetrics and gynecology residents are comprehensively trained in abortion care and contraception. The program also supports participating medical schools through curricula and workshops. The Ryan Residency Program has significantly increased residents’ reproductive health knowledge and skills.

And the TEACH Program (Training Early Abortion for Comprehensive Healthcare) trains clinicians in reproductive health, enables them to provide abortion care, and cultivates the next generation of reproductive health champions to ensure everyone has access to comprehensive healthcare. TEACH develops and distributes evidence-based curriculum; prepares residents, fellows and faculty to provide early abortion and contraceptive procedures with confidence; and provides leadership development and mentoring. The program also initiates policy change and research to normalize comprehensive reproductive health training and practice. Its curriculum includes the internationally used Early Abortion Training Workbook, which was for the study that informed a California law expanding access to abortion care.

Training for practicing health professionals

The Bixby Center provides first-rate trainings on abortion and contraception in-person and online. Our Innovating Education in Reproductive Health initiative is a digital hub that highlights innovative family planning and abortion curricula, tools, teaching techniques and research from educational leaders around the world. Innovating Education in Reproductive Health is committed to cultivating clinicians who offer high-quality, compassionate, patient-centered care by generating, curating and disseminating novel curricula, learning tools and research for educators. All content on is free and open source and can be used in a variety of educational and training setting.

Innovating Education in Reproductive Health initiative is introducing state-of-the-art, on-demand reproductive health education online. This includes the first-ever online course about abortion, which reached almost 7,000 students from 155 countries, and a patient-centered course on early pregnancy loss.

Our Beyond the Pill program provides both in-service and online training for healthcare providers and support staff on intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants, both safe and highly effective birth control options.

Finally, the Bixby Center houses the Bridging Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) program. A joint initiative of UCSF and the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, BIRCWH aims to foster the next generation of women’s health scholars through financial support, mentorship and research training. BIRCWH emphasizes novel, interdisciplinary approaches to a wide range of women’s health issues, with a particular focus on translation into policy impact.

International training

We offer world-class training opportunities in HIV/AIDS research and reproductive health care internationally. Over the past 20 years, the Bixby Center’s University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences Clinical Trials Unit (UZCHS-CTU), formally University of Zimbabwe-UCSF Collaborative Research Programme (UZ-UCSF), has mentored the next generation of Zimbabwean and global researchers, supporting more than 230 upper-level students and postgraduates to date. Mentored postgraduates have gone on to positions of leadership in academia and non-governmental organizations around the world.

Our Family AIDS Care and Education Services (FACES) program in Kenya provides a wide range of training opportunities for those focused on HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention and care. More than 200 medical students, health professional students and residents have participated in FACES’ Student Training Education Program (STEP). FACES is also a site for the University of California Global Health Institute (UCGHI) GloCal Health Fellowship, a mentored research fellowship that trains the next generation of leaders in global health in partnership with 27 international institutions in 16 countries.

The Bixby Center’s Safe Motherhood Program provides technical assistance and training to government ministries of health and other health care organizations in more than 20 low resource countries. A large study of the training showed a reduction in maternal death and injury at childbirth. And together with collaborators at the University of Utah and PRONTO International, our researchers are evaluating the impact of an innovative training model to improve obstetric and neonatal outcomes.