Immigrants and refugees in western New York: A CBPR project on knowledge, attitudes and access to medication abortion in underserved communities
Awarded 2020
Increasing access to medication abortion
Diana Romero, PhD, MA
CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy

There are only three surgical abortion providers in Buffalo, the second largest city in New York State (NYS) after New York City; ensuring access to medication abortion services in this region is paramount to mitigate reduced access to surgical procedures. Buffalo has also seen a 95% increase in the foreign-born population from 2006-2013, including resettled refugees. Given the current political climate in the United States to both reduce access to abortion services and increase punitive measures against undocumented immigrants, immigrant/refugee populations are particularly vulnerable to reduced access to abortion services. The NYS Reproductive Health Act has legally protected New Yorker’s right to choose, however, the extent to which immigrant/refugee populations in Western NYS can avail themselves of this right is not known. We are proposing a pilot study to co-develop a larger research study with relevant stakeholders (community-based organizations, city and state health departments, local schools of public health, local community health centers, and patient advocacy groups) using a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach. This pilot CBPR project will result in: (1) a solid community-supported base from which to apply for resources for implementation of the data collection and analysis components in Buffalo and surrounding areas; and, (2) a transferable CBPR-driven model for engaging immigrant- and refugee-serving partners in similar communities across the US that seek to increase knowledge of and access to medication abortion. The proposed research team at the CUNY School of Public Health brings complementary skills in reproductive health-related research and rich experience with CBPR implementation.