Challenges in homeless health care: Improving reproductive health services for homeless women
In collaboration with Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP), our team, members of an MCH leadership course at Boston University School of Public Health, assessed the needs of homeless women in the Boston area to improve their reproductive health planning capacity. To this end, we identified reproductive health and life planning tools in the literature, conducted stakeholder interviews, shadowed BHCHP providers, and conducted informal interviews with shelter residents.
The consultation project demonstrated a need for reproductive health care tools and services tailored towards homeless women. We presented BHCHP with a Reproductive Health Toolkit to strengthen the organization’s practice and empower clients to make informed reproductive life decisions. The Toolkit included i) a World Health Organization reproductive health decision-making tool adapted for homeless women; ii) provider resources on reproductive life planning, motivational interviewing, and trauma-informed reproductive health care; iii) a tailored list of reproductive health smartphone applications for patient use; iv) practical implementation and sustainability strategies for each tool.
The Reproductive Health Toolkit, adapted from existing tools used in lower-resource settings, should be evaluated and replicated among other homeless healthcare initiatives to fill a severe gap in reproductive health resources for homeless women and their providers.
Learning Areas:Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Describe the individual barriers and systemic obstacles homeless women face in accessing reproductive health care. Discuss strategies to strengthen Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program's reproductive health care practice and empower their clients to make informed reproductive life decisions.
Keyword(s): Reproductive Health, Homelessness
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am currently a Masters of Public Health student at Boston University concentrating in Maternal and Child Health. I have over 5 years of research and public health work experience. I, along with my other student consultant team members, worked very closely with Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program on their reproductive health initiative last year.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.