Abortion is common, and routine training is critical.
Abortion is one of the most common reproductive health care experiences in the United States, with one in four women* having an abortion in their lifetimes. Nearly all obstetrician-gynecologists have patients that need abortion care, making it a critical skill that they must be trained to provide. Also, in the United States, 46 million women* use a method of contraception, making skills in contraception care a core requirement for all practicing obstetrician-gynecologists.
To help programs meet the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) mandate for routine abortion training in obstetrics and gynecology (ob-gyn) training programs, Dr. Uta Landy created the Kenneth J. Ryan Residency Training Program in Abortion and Family Planning in 1999. The Ryan Program works directly with ob-gyn residency programs to integrate training in abortion and contraception care (family planning) as a required rotation. All programs establish or expand abortion services in their teaching hospitals and may also create new partnerships with local clinics to train residents.
Ryan Programs are more important than ever.
Since 1999, the Ryan Program has supported more than 100 ob-gyn residencies, and in these programs over 7,000 residents have been trained to provide abortion care. After graduation 4 in 10 provide routine abortion care for their patients. And all graduates are skilled to provide exceptional contraception care; unbiased pregnancy options and abortion counseling; early pregnancy ultrasound; abortion care in the rare setting of a pregnancy emergency; and patient-centered care for early pregnancy loss.
Although the proportion of programs that includes routine abortion training has increased, it is still insufficient. A 2018 study found that only 64% of ob-gyn residency program directors report routinely training their residents in abortion care.
As increasingly restrictive laws close abortion clinics and curtail reproductive autonomy and access, it is more important than ever to ensure the availability of abortion care in hospitals and make sure that all obstetrician-gynecologists are skilled to provide abortion care.
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- Technical assistance to enhance clinical services, expand patient outreach, and support evidence-based teaching
- A Didactic Curriculum with family planning focused modules
- Annual meetings, workshops, and webinars for program directors and key staff
- Access to a national network of experts through the Ryan Program listserv
The Ryan Program is currently led by Dr. Jody Steinauer and is based at the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco.
*These data are limited to people who identify as women. We acknowledge that people who don’t identify as women also have abortions and use contraception, and we emphasize the importance of training residents to provide patient-centered abortion care for all who need it.