New Generation provides ‘gold standard’ reproductive health care for San Francisco youth from a new home

When you hear the passion in the voices of New Generation Health Center staff and patients talking about the clinic, it’s not hard to see how they beat the odds and found a new home. 

New Gen staff Jenny Manriquez, Andrea Raider and Kaitlyn 'Mo' Morrison in the new space 

In 2016, it seemed like the clinic’s legacy of providing free, confidential and compassionate sexual and reproductive health care to San Francisco youth was coming to an end. They had lost the lease on their Potrero Avenue location and struggled to find a way to continue serving the patients who relied on them. Instead, doctors, nurses, local school officials and current and former patients came together to fight for New Gen, their community, and their health.

New Gen provides reproductive health services to youth, including all types of birth control, pregnancy testing and options counseling, and STI screening and treatment. Their philosophy extends beyond just providing health care; they aim to empower their patients. “We’re not here to judge people or make them feel bad about the choices they’ve made,” said Andrea Raider, a nurse practitioner who has been with New Gen since 1997. “We’re just here to make sure their choices are informed choices.”

“New Gen is the gold standard of how to provide comprehensive reproductive services to teens and young adults,” said Dr. Tonya Chaffee, an adolescent medicine specialist in the Department of Pediatrics. Their approach is summed up in their slogan: “answers, not attitude.”

A large majority of New Gen’s patients are youth of color living below the federal poverty line. The possibility of losing the only free reproductive health clinic that prioritizes this community lit a fire. Staff knew they had special relationships with their patients, but the way the community campaigned to Save New Gen still blew them away. “I was floored by the immediate and emotional reaction from other community health providers and our young patients,” said Alexandra Carter, a former New Gen Health Educator. “They spoke eloquently and powerfully about what having a trusted, safe space to address their most intimate health needs meant to them, and they continued to show up despite all the other challenges in their lives.”

Supporters of New Gen spoke at community meetings and on social media, and even started a GoFundMe that raised over $20,000. They shared the profound impact New Gen had on them. As one 19-year-old patient said, “Being a young woman without health insurance and proper access to reproductive health care can be really scary. Yet I feel so lucky to have been referred to New Generation. The environment is safe, friendly and all inclusive, and it would be a shame to have let this all go.” As Kaitlyn (Mo) Morrison, New Gen’s clinic coordinator put it, “People didn’t want to go anywhere else.”

“We are thrilled that New Gen can continue to provide family planning services in a new, modern space,” said Dr. Rebecca Jackson, Ob/Gyn Division Chief at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. “We are all grateful to Homeless Prenatal Program, the San Francisco Department of Public Health and UCSF because this couldn’t have happened without the support of all three organizations.” 

The bond with New Gen is so strong that staff have seen patients who came in their teens start bringing their own daughters in for care. Thanks to their new partnership, New Gen will continue to provide future generations the judgment-free reproductive health care they deserve.