Health Workforce Equity Summit Tackles Crisis in Reproductive Health

Top reproductive health experts gathered at the Milken Institute School of Public Health on June 18 for the inaugural Health Workforce Equity Summit, where they discussed the growing crisis facing reproductive health access in the United States.

The summit is an initiative of the Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity, which works to strengthen health workforce policies in the United States and around the world. It was named in April to honor Fitzhugh Mullan, MD, professor of health policy and management, and pediatrics at Milken Institute SPH and GW’s School of Medicine and Health Services (SMHS), and his lifelong commitment social justice, health equity and health workforce policies.

“Dr. Mullan’s work and unmatched legacy have never been as important as they are right now, when the stakes for public health in our country—including reproductive health care —are higher than they have been in decades,” said Leana Wen, MD, MSc, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the nation’s leading provider of sexual and reproductive health care and education, who provided the summit’s keynote speech. “There has not been a more important time to be in the reproductive health workforce. It is a moment of great challenges—but also one of tremendous opportunity.”

Wen’s remarks highlighted the challenges facing reproductive health care across the country, the limitations imposed upon clinicians trained to provide care, and potential solutions to ease the crisis. She acknowledged Mullan’s influence in her work as a physician and public health professional, sharing the story of how they’d met at a conference when she was 18 and how he had been a mentor to her throughout her career.

The summit also featured two panel conversations between reproductive health leaders and health workforce experts about strategies that can enhance access to reproductive health in light of states’ recent actions to restrict care. The health experts also discussed challenges facing the health workforce. Patricia (Polly) Pittman, PhD, director of the Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity, and Candice Chen, MD, associate professor of health policy and management at Milken Institute SPH, moderated the discussions.

The summit was followed by a reception at the Milken Institute School of Public Health to honor Mullan and the naming of the Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity. Learn more about the Mullan Institute here.

Read more about the summit in GW Today.