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Yale Fellowship in Complex Family Planning


Reproductive health care rooted in dignity, equity, and science.


Yale Complex Family Planning provides exceptional care through evidence-based medicine, essential education, rigorous research, and advocacy focused on abortion and contraception.

Overview of Program

The Yale Fellowship in Complex Family Planning offers excellent clinical training, dedicated research mentorship, innovative options for a masters degree and exciting advocacy opportunities.

History of Reproductive Health at Yale

Family Planning has a celebrated history in the Yale Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences. The Chair of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Dr. Lee Buxton, was arrested along with Connecticut Planned Parenthood's Estelle Griswold in 1961 for operating a contraceptive clinic at a time when providing contraception to married couples was illegal. This case, Griswold v Connecticut, became the 1965 US Supreme Court decision that established the right to privacy in reproductive matters, laying the foundation for the Roe v Wade decision. From this history, we draw inspiration for a new chapter of leadership in women's reproductive health for clinical care, research, advocacy and education through Yale’s Fellowship in Complex Family Planning.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Our Complex Family Planning Fellowship at Yale School of Medicine is committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion as this is vitally important to the discipline of family planning for patients, trainees, faculty, and the workforce alike. The principles of equity and inclusion are rooted in our programmatic values and are essential to the educational mission of our fellowship. Our curriculum and educational practices reflect our ongoing commitment to dismantling structures of power, oppression, and privilege within graduate medical education and in complex abortion and contraceptive care. We remain conscious of areas where growth and change are necessary, and strive to create just educational and clinical environments where all members can equitably thrive.

Clinical Training

We provide expert Complex Family Planning care and serve as a referral site for abortion care for medically complex patients, patients needing abortion care between 20 weeks and 23 weeks 6 days gestation, and surgical management for patients experiencing miscarriage in the second trimester.

We provide general and complex contraceptive care for women, with a focus on and expertise in long-acting reversible methods and contraceptive options for people with underlying medical issues.

Yale Fellows in Complex Family Planning provide care at Yale New Haven Hospital, in our Yale Medicine faculty practice, and at Planned Parenthood of Southern New England.


Current Fellows' Research Projects

Dr. Samantha Baer

  • Second Year Complex Family Planning Fellow
  • Residency: Tufts Medical Center
  • Project: Development and Preliminary Testing of a Professionalism-Focused Interactive, Online Module for Teaching Options Counseling to Medical Students

Dr. Blythe Bynum

  • First Year Complex Family Planning Fellow
  • Residency: Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Project: Building and Evaluating a Group Contraception Counseling Model Aimed at Utilizing Social Networks to Inform Contraceptive Choices and Improve Autonomy in Family Planning Decisions among African American Women aged 18-40

Previous Fellows' Research Projects

Dr. Neena Qasba

  • Current Position: Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts Medical School – Baystate
  • Project: A pilot study to develop and evaluate a group prenatal contraceptive counseling intervention

Dr. Meredith Pensak

  • Current Position: Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine; Director, Section of Family Planning; Director, Ryan Residency Training Program
  • Project: Development and Feasibility Testing of a Video Game to Reduce High-Risk Heterosexual Behavior in Spanish-Speaking Latinx Adolescents: Pilot Study

Dr. Abigail Cutler

  • Current Position: Clinical Instructor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Yale School of Medicine
  • Project: The Impact of Shouting Your Abortion on Community-Level Abortion Stigma: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Dr. Wendy Leung

  • Current Position: Faculty, Jacobi Medical Center
  • Project: The Impact of Shouting Your Abortion on Community-Level Abortion Stigma in Nursing Students: A Pilot Study

Dr. Gabriela Aguilar

  • Current Position: Faculty, NYU Medical Center
  • Project: Exploring Race/Ethnicity-Based Discrimination Among Patients Seeking Abortion Care

Fellows have access to Yale's rich research infrastructure including:

  1. The Yale Center for Clinical Investigation (part of NIH's Institutional Clinical and Translational Science Award)
  2. Yale Center for Analytic Sciences (including biostatistics, epidemiology, health economics, health policy, health services and big data research)
  3. Departmental biorepository

Masters Degree Options

We have two main tracks available for fellows to pursue masters-level degrees, depending on their past educational achievement and their future career goals, as well as a third option:

  1. The Yale School of Public Health's (YSPH) Master of Public Health – Fellows who come with Masters degrees have the option to audit courses at YSPH.
  2. The Yale School of Medicine's Master in Health Sciences Research
  3. We have one other program that may be added to the Masters programs or pursued by itself for fellows who come with Masters degrees already: The National Clinician Scholars Program curriculum.


Fellows will be mentored in the arena of advocacy and are strongly encouraged to attend the Leadership Training Academy conducted by Physicians for Reproductive Health. As a former Chair of the Board of Physicians for Reproductive Health, Dr. Stanwood will also work closely with interested fellows to provide even more robust exposure to national advocacy efforts. Such exposure could include a policy rotation at Physicians or the ACOG Policy Rotation.

In addition, Yale hosts a bi-annual Northeast Regional Family Planning Advocacy Training Seminar, designed to provide fellows with practical advocacy skills that can be used at the patient, professional, and policy levels.


  1. Yale Law School – We have collaborative relationships with several faculty in the Yale Law School who are engaged in reproductive jurisprudence and justice work. Interested fellows can participate in cross disciplinary work by providing a medical perspective to the work of the Reproductive Rights and Justice Project and the Program for the Study of Reproductive Justice, as well as join the Reproductive Rights Reading Group or take the course on Sexuality, Gender, Health, and Human Rights or the Global Health and Justice Practicum.
  2. Planned Parenthood of Southern New England (PPSNE) has 17 health centers across Connecticut and Rhode Island and is the largest provider of reproductive health care and abortion care in Connecticut. Fellows train clinically at PPSNE and have the opportunity to collaborate with PPSNE in research and programs, tapping into its large clinical volume and research infrastructure.

Teaching Opportunities

Fellows will be an integral part of the educational mission of the Family Planning Section, teaching Yale medical students, obgyn residents, internal medicine residents, pediatric residents, physicians assistant students, and advanced nursing students as well as visiting students and residents from outside of Yale. Our section does workshops, lectures, case reviews, and clinical teaching with all of these levels of learners at Yale University. We also serve as an educational resource for other local medical schools and universities such as Quinnipiac University and Wesleyan University.