Newsletter Spring 2021

UCLA Family Planning: Transforming Healthcare for Our Patients

The UCLA Family Planning Division is leading the way in transforming the future of reproductive healthcare delivery and simplifying access for the people who need it most. 

Committed to assisting patients with their family planning and fertility control needs, the UCLA Family Planning Division offers a full spectrum of health care for our patients and other services, including community outreach and education, as well as appointments for contraceptive counseling, abortion care, STI testing and treatment, and other gynecologic care. Our team of experts specialize in caring for patients with complex medical backgrounds and are committed to providing quality and compassionate reproductive health care to patients of all gender identities, including transgender patients.

The UCLA Family Planning specialists provide care at the UCLA West Medical Center OBGYN Clinic with a mission to empower patients to make reproductive health decisions that will support their life goals. Dr. Angela Chen, Associate Clinical Professor and Medical Director at the UCLA West Med Clinic shares, “We want our patients to have the family that they want to have in a safe environment, if and when they are ready.”

Center of Excellence

The UCLA West Medical OBGYN Clinic is recognized as a Merck Center of Experience specializing in contraceptive implant insertion and removal. Our Family Planning providers have expertise in localization and removal of the non-palpable implant. Patients who are unable to have their implant retrieved at outside facilities will be referred to the clinic for higher level of care in complex implant removals.

As a Center of Excellence for Complex Contraception, the clinic serves patients with medical factors that complicate their contraception options. Working closely with UCLA OBGYN’s Maternal Fetal Medicine and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility specialists, we are able to help patients get contraception and advanced fertility control even if they have complex health problems. 

Patient Assistance Fund

The UCLA West Medical Center OBGYN Clinic cares for some of the most medically complex and vulnerable patients in Los Angeles. Many of our patients come from hundreds of miles away with little to no resources for food, gas, childcare, or shelter. The Patient Assistance Fund was established to provide patients a lifeline in the form of grocery gift cards, gas cards, parking passes, uber rides and hotel vouchers, allowing for members of our community to receive the care they need at UCLA.

Access to Care and Education During the Pandemic

Experts from the UCLA Division of Family Planning served important roles in the historic win to access care during the pandemic by enabling contactless pick-up of the medication mifepristone with a follow-up video visit. In April 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent a letter to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) indicating its suspension of a policy that required patients to pick-up mifepristone in-person and risk unnecessary exposure to COVID-19. UCLA OBGYN faculty members Dr. Rajita Patil and Dr. Angela Chen are co-chairs for the Society of Family Planning Telehealth Practitioner’s Special Interest Group that helped advocate for this telehealth effort that reduces barriers to access for those who live far away or logistically unable to get to a provider, especially during the pandemic.

The UCLA Family Planning Division continued to also provide health education workshops in a virtual setting during the pandemic through the Title X Program. For over 30 years, the Title X Program at UCLA has played a vital role in supporting the delivery of high-quality, inclusive, and engaging workshops on a variety of topics, including contraception, healthy relationships, racism in gynecology, and "Self-care as Healthcare," free of charge for our community partners. 

In the Summer of 2019, harmful new regulations to the Title X program were announced. As a provider of quality, comprehensive family planning care to some of the most marginalized, medically and socially vulnerable people in the greater Los Angeles area, we have made the difficult decision to step away from the program rather than compromise our commitment to our patients. While these regulations currently remain in place, we are optimistic about future shifts in legislation.

Advocacy on a National Level

The UCLA Division of Family Planning meets with legal scholars, lawmakers, and advocacy organizations to review pending legislation that impacts women's health, with a goal to expand access to care and contraception by fighting challenges to reproductive freedom at the state and national levels. Programs like the Ryan Residency Training Program and Complex Family Planning Fellowship hosted at the West Medical Clinic have great potential to influence access to care locally and develop policies on the national level.  The Ryan Residency Training Program is a national initiative to integrate and enhance family planning training for obstetrics and gynecology residents. Dr. Angela Chen founded the “Building a Ryan Program” workshop, which inspires new graduates in the field of family planning to seek academic careers and to build their own training programs in family planning. 

Complex Family Planning Fellowship

As an outgrowth of our excellence, our Complex Family Planning Fellowship, now in its 10th year, received ACGME accreditation in 2020. The department and program leadership is excited to build on the foundation set by Family Planning Division Chief and former Complex Family Planning Fellowship Program Director, Angela Chen, MD, MPH, as they help the fellowship grow and transition into an ACGME subspecialty program now led by Radhika Rible, MD, Program Director and Associate Clinical Professor of UCLA OBGYN, and Rajita Patil, MD, Associate Program Director and Assistant Clinical Professor of UCLA OBGYN. The ACGME-accredited Complex Family Planning Fellowship offers a wealth of clinical training with family planning as well as research and advocacy training to one fellow per year for a total of 2 years. To learn more