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APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing

Incorporating a Rights-Based Framework into Leadership Development Programs to Advance Sexual and Reproductive Health

Gwendolyn Smith, MPA1, Esther Tahrir, MPH1, Josephine Ramos, MA1, and Rossana Cifuentes, MD2. (1) International Health Programs, Public Health Institute, 210 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, 831-427-4978, gwen@gpsmith.net, (2) Guatemala Association of Women Physicians, Master of Public Health Program, University of San Carlos Guatemala, Edificio de Investigacion D, Nivel 3, 9th Ave 9-45 Zone 11, Guatemala City, Guatemala

In 2006, International Health Programs (IHP) of the Public Health Institute (PHI) completes implementation of its 6-year International Family Planning Leadership Program (IFPLP). This innovative program was designed to create a multisectoral cohort and network of 155 leaders with vision, commitment, skills, and knowledge to expand and improve sexual and reproductive health in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and southern Mexico. Leadership development is IHP's core strategy for strengthening the capacity of participants to advance reproductive health policy and practice in their countries. Providing sexual and reproductive health in a human rights framework is a guiding principle of the program in its intensive 3-week leadership institute and subsequent country leadership action plans. IHP staff utilized evidential and evocative methods of evaluation such as interviews and testimonies, focus groups, and questionnaires to assess changes in leadership practices and to probe changes in the vision and attitudes of participants in expanding reproductive health from a public health base to a rights-based issue. Participants reported positive shifts in their vision and perspective on reproductive health. Results also indicate that the program enhanced participants' ability to strategically advocate for sexual and reproductive health rights in personal and professional contexts. Fostering the capacity of leaders who contextualize reproductive health as a human right is critical to the long-term sustainability of resolving national and global reproductive health and rights challenges. By building the vision and competence of leaders from diverse sectors of civil society, IFPLP is advancing reproductive health rights in Central America and Mexico.

Learning Objectives: Participants attending this session will be able to

Keywords: International Reproductive Health, Evaluation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered

Handout (.pdf format, 1827.7 kb)

Policy and Advocacy Best Practices

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA