How to Become a Ryan Program

In this video, the Ryan Residency Training Program discusses:

  • Ryan Program national overview
  • Service and training expectations of Ryan Programs
  • Ryan Program designated and development initiatives
  • Resources available from the National Office

We look forward to helping you bring a Ryan Program to your institution!



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Questions and Answers


How long does it generally take to get a Ryan Program up and running?

The timeline for establishing a Ryan Program is site specific, and programs approach building a Ryan Program at various stages of readiness. For example, an institution may have supportive leadership, but lack a family planning faculty member to lead the effort. Alternatively, a program may have a faculty member in place, but lack the support of leadership to integrate family planning into service provision and resident training.

As another example, a program that already offers opt-in abortion training at an existing clinic is likely to formalize family planning training into a required, opt-out rotation faster than a program without either of these existing components.

To assess what a realistic timeline may be for your institution, reach out to the National Office to discuss the specifics of your program.


Have there been any Ryan programs that have been established for a Catholic based community residency program by a local faculty at a local academic center that already has an establish Ryan program?

The Ryan Program model of training exists at Catholic ob-gyn residency programs. In one example, residents receive required, opt-out family planning training at a collaborating Planned Parenthood clinic. In another example, a faculty member at an established Ryan Program serves as the Ryan Program director for residents at a nearby Catholic program, training these residents at the academic teaching hospital where she is based.

Catholic residency programs can pose unique challenges in terms of ensuring leadership is supportive and collaborating partners can accommodate resident trainees. Despite this, nearly half of Catholic programs have some level of family planning training. The Ryan Program is well connected in the faith-based community and can help you explore what options may exist for establishing a Ryan Program with a Catholic residency.


Do you have any general suggestions for starting abortion services in a hospital? I am not sure how to let my presence be known.

If your department sends a welcome email when new faculty join, ensure the announcement outlines your areas of expertise and interests. Research ahead of time to make sure you phrase your expertise and interests using the same words the institution uses. For example, some institutions use the word “abortion” while others refer to their services more generally as “family planning.” You can then use this welcome email as a way to introduce yourself to other departments and those you intend to build referral relationships.

When you first arrive at your institution, a best practice is to start slow. Even in supportive institutions, challenges can arise when launching abortion services. Take your time to get know other faculty and staff, especially nursing and anesthesia in the OR and Labor and Delivery. Once people have had a chance to get to know and like you, they will have a harder time obstructing your efforts, regardless of their feelings about abortion.

More information on how to build and invest in your network is available in our Resource Library in the private login section of our website, available to sites which commit to pursue either of our pathways. Learn more here.


Are there are sites that have expressed interest but for one reason or another, have not been able to start a Ryan program?

Common factors that can delay Ryan Program implementation include hiring faculty to lead the effort, finding collaborating abortion clinics to supplement training, institutional leadership changes, and state politics. While the Ryan Program cannot control for leadership or political changes, the National Office facilitates hiring and securing supplemental training opportunities by maintaining a running list ob-gyn residency programs looking to hire family planning faculty and abortion clinics with training capacity.

As mentioned before, the timeline for establishing a Ryan Program is site specific, and programs approach building a Ryan Program at various stages of readiness. Programs with more obstacles will take a longer time to formalize family planning services and training than a site with relatively few challenges. Having worked with over 100 programs to establish our model of training, the Ryan Program believes that, despite varying timelines, every institution is capable of implementing our model of training.


Will the Ryan Program provide grant funding again?

We presently do not have a grant-making budget. However, we are currently pursuing funding opportunities and intend to provide Ryan Program grants in the future. We do not yet have a timeline for when funding will be available.

Currently, we are able to help you create and enhance relationships with potential donors in your community, and support you in applying for grants and building fund-raising capacity.


Can you give some specific examples of funding sources?

The National Office promotes community support for Ryan Programs needing external funding, such as from local foundations, philanthropists, and reproductive health advocacy and justice groups. We have also been able to connect Ryan Programs to out-of-state funders specifically interested in supporting abortion and training access.

Connecting with your institution’s office of development is a good first step in understanding what local groups or individuals may be interested in supporting your work.