AMSA Reproductive Health Town Hall
Reproductive Justice Points the Way:
Why & How Reproductive Health Medical Education Must Change
8:00 – 9:30pmET
Join us for a night of necessary, challenging – and inspiring – conversation!
Livestream @AMSAnational – or – Register Here
Responding to the moral and ethical call from the Reproductive Justice Movement for reparation and justice, how must we transform medical education to ensure that we break these cycles of abuse and domination perpetuated by our chosen profession, and contribute meaningfully to the project for reproductive freedom and collective liberation?
This livestreamed discussion is sponsored by the AMSA Reproductive Health Project and will focus on the current state of medical education pertaining to abortion care, family planning, and reproductive health. Looking directly at the historical and ongoing legacy of the white supremacist, heteropatriarchal foundation of modern Obstetrics and Gynecology, we call the House of Medicine to account for the violence and violation perpetuated by physicians and by the medical system against, in particular, Black and Indigenous women and birthing people.
This event will highlight findings from our multi-year survey of medical students regarding their experiences with abortion care and family planning related education at their medical school, pre- and post-Dobbs, and will lift up the work that is already underway to transform reproductive health medical education.
- Loretta Ross, Activist. Public Intellectual. Professor. Co-founder SisterSong. A Godmother to reproductive justice & survivor advocate.
- Dr. Kristyn Brandi, Board Chair, Physicians for Reproductive Health
- Dr. Charisse Loder, Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Michigan Medicine
- Pamela Merritt, Executive director of Medical Students for Choice
*See bios below
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Moderator & Panelists Bios:
Loretta J. Ross (she/her) is a Professor at Smith College in Northampton, MA in the Program for the Study of Women and Gender. She teaches courses on white supremacy, human rights, and calling in the calling out culture. She has taught at Hampshire College and Arizona State University. She is a graduate of Agnes Scott College and holds an honorary Doctorate of Civil Law degree awarded in 2003 from Arcadia University and a second honorary doctorate degree awarded from Smith College in 2013. She also has credits towards a Ph.D. in Women’s Studies from Emory University. She serves as a consultant for Smith College, collecting oral histories of feminists of color for the Sophia Smith Collection, which also contains her personal archives. Loretta also is a recipient of a MacArthur Fellow, Class of 2022, for her work as an advocate of Reproductive Justice and Human Rights.
Loretta’s activism began when she was tear-gassed at a demonstration as a first-year student at Howard University in 1970. As a teenager, she was involved in anti-apartheid and anti-gentrification activism in Washington, DC as a founding member of the DC Study Group. As part of a 50-year history in social justice activism until her retirement from community organizing in 2012, she was the National Coordinator of the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective from 2005-2012 and co-created the theory of Reproductive Justice in 1994.
Loretta was National Co-Director of April 25, 2004, March for Women’s Lives in Washington D.C., the largest protest march in U.S. history at that time with 1.15 million participants. She founded the National Center for Human Rights Education (NCHRE) in Atlanta, Georgia from 1996-2004. She launched the Women of Color Program for the National Organization for Women (NOW) in the 1980s and was the national program director of the National Black Women’s Health Project. Loretta was one of the first African American women to direct a rape crisis center in the 1970s, launching her career by pioneering work on violence against women, as the third Executive Director of the D.C. Rape Crisis Center. She is a member of the Women’s Media Center’s Progressive Women’s Voices. Watch Makers: Women Who Make America video.
Loretta has co-written three books on reproductive justice: Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organize for Reproductive Justice in 2004; Reproductive Justice: An Introduction in March 2017; and Radical Reproductive Justice: Foundations, Theory, Practice, Critique in October 2017. Her newest book, Calling In the Calling Out Culture is forthcoming later in 2023.
Loretta is a rape survivor, forced to raise a child born of incest, and also a survivor of sterilization abuse at age 23. She is a model of how to survive and thrive despite the traumas that disproportionately affect low-income women of color.
Loretta is a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. The one thing left on her bucket list is to see Venus and Serena Williams play tennis live. She is an avid pinochle player, competing in tournaments across the country because this is how she balances her activist life with apolitical hobbies.
Kristyn Brandi MD MPH FACOG (she/ella): Dr. Kristyn Brandi is an OBGYN, family planning specialist and steadfast advocate of reproductive autonomy for BIPOC people who dismantles oppressive structures in reproductive health to help every person achieve their own reproductive justice. She currently works clinically at independent abortion clinics throughout New Jersey as well as a consultant for reproductive advocacy and medical education. She recently completed a year at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists as the Darney Landy Fellow. She completed her medical school and residency training in OBGYN at Rutgers – New Jersey Medical School. She completed a Family Planning Fellowship at Boston University where she also earned her Master’s in Public Health with a concentration in Health Law, Bioethics and Human Rights. Her research is on reproductive decision making, contraceptive coercion, and racism in reproductive health care. She serves as the Board Chair of Physicians for Reproductive Health, sits on several sub-committees for the Society of Family Planning and is a founding member of Centering Equity, Racial and Cultural Literacy in Family Planning (CERCL-FP). She proudly identifies as a Latina pansexual abortion provider.
Charisse Loder, MD (she/her) Charisse Loder, MD (she/her) is an assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Michigan Medicine, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She completed a fellowship in family planning at the University of Michigan, where she established collaborations with reproductive justice advocates to design a reproductive justice curriculum for medical education. As the program director for the complex family planning fellowship and Ryan Residency Director, she guides the clinical training of medical students, residents and fellows in family planning. Dr. Loder is committed to self-reflective practice and understand one’s own role in perpetuating inequity. She is passionate about autonomy, justice and tending to her cut flower garden.
Pamela Merritt (she/her): Pamela Merritt is executive director of Medical Students for Choice (MSFC), a global non-profit working in over 30 countries to ensure medical students and residents are educated about all aspects of reproductive health care, including abortion. Prior to joining MSFC, Pamela co-founded and served as the co-director of Reproaction, a national organization formed to increase access to abortion and advance reproductive justice. Pamela was a 2017 Reproductive Health, Rights, & Justice Fellow at the Rockwood Leadership Institute and a founding member of the Trust Black Women Project. She is chair of the Guttmacher Institute’s Board of Directors, honorary chair of Reproaction’s Advisory Council, and serves on the Our Bodies Ourselves Today Leadership Council while also chairing its Abortion and Contraception vertical. A longtime writer and progressive thought leader, Pamela’s personal blog was named one of the world’s 50 most powerful blogs in 2008 by The Guardian. Her political and social justice commentary has been published in The Guardian, Rolling Stone, and Rewire News Group.
The American Medical Student Association (AMSA) believes that abortion services are a vital component of reproductive health care; that physicians who provide abortion care are essential to our communities;
and that their practice should be legally protected and available to all in need regardless of how much they earn, who they work for, or what state they live in.
The AMSA Abortion Care & Reproductive Health Project is dedicated to advancing these values and works with AMSA members, chapters, alumni, and allies to ensure a diverse physician workforce
that includes highly skilled, culturally sensitive physicians prepared to provide abortion services to those who need them in various health care workplaces.
We are honored to offer space, resources and support to connect future physicians with allies committed to reproductive freedom and justice for all.