Adolescent experiences with contraceptive care at health department and Federally Qualified Health Centers in South Carolina and Alabama
Awarded 2021
Emerging Scholars in Family Planning
Kristen Surles, MPH
East Tennessee State University

As a public health doctorate student at East Tennessee State University (ETSU), Kristen Surles is pursuing her goal of improving equitable access to care for teens to improve their overall well-being. Before returning to school, she worked as a counselor in underserved middle and high schools. It was here that her drive to improve access to care for teens was cemented and narrowed to ensuring that youth have the resources necessary to become autonomous. Primarily, she is interested in improving equitable access to contraceptive services, comprehensive sex education, and mental health resources for youth. As a Graduate Assistant at ETSU, she is working for the Center for Applied Research and Evaluation to better understand experiences in obtaining contraceptive care and clinic policies and practices impacting contraceptive care. For her project, she is focusing on the experiences of youth at health departments and federally qualified health centers in South Carolina and Alabama in obtaining contraceptive care and clinics’ capacity to address youth-specific contraceptive needs.