Adding Value
to Reproductive Health Research
Communicating about the moral dimensions
of science
The Added Values Project
A new initiative from the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals
ARHP’s Irvin M. Cushner Award
 Leading 20th century public health advocate
 Reproductive health care innovator
 Influential leader, educator, policymaker
• Director, Center for Social Studies in Human Reproduction
• Professor, Johns Hopkins & UCLA
• Deputy Assistant Secretary for Population Affairs, DHHS
Wanda Jones, DrPH
 1998 Clinton appointment to DHHS
• Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health
• Director, Office of Women’s Health
 1988 – 1997: CDC
• Associate director for women’s health
• Associate director for science, HIV/AIDS
• HIV/AIDS laboratory trainer
Wanda Jones, DrPH
 Advocacy
• National leader in women’s health,
HIV/AIDS, STIs, health access
 Science
• Microbiologist, public health researcher,
laboratory practice expert
 Education
• PhD public health, lab practice, UNC
• Masters medical technology, Penn State
Wanda Jones, DrPH
 Health advocate for patients & providers
Eliminating women’s health disparities
Preventing violence against women
HIV/AIDS prevention & treatment
 Established groundbreaking agencies
National Centers of Excellence in Women’s Health
National Community Centers of Excellence
National Women’s Health Information Center
National Minority Women’s Health Expert Panel
“Moral Values Malarkey”
 AP Exit Poll
• Q: “Which issue mattered most in deciding how
you voted for president?”
Dick Meyers, Against the Grain,
November 5, 2004
Moral Values?
Moral Values (22%)
Economy/Jobs (20%)
Terrorism (19%)
Iraq (15%)
Health Care (8%)
Taxes (5%)
Same AP Poll
 Abortion
• 55% want it to remain legal
 Stem cell research
• Ample support
Moral Values?
AP Poll “Message”
 Perception
• “Moral values” equals opposition to
abortion, gay marriage
 Reality
• “Moral values” equal different things to
different people
Religious Example
 “Lost Christianities”
Gospel of Thomas
Gospel of Mary Magdalene
Gospel of Judas
Bart D. Ehrman
Perception of Science: Professionals
 “We depend too much on science & not enough
on faith”
 “Scientific research these days doesn't pay
enough attention to the moral values of society”
 “Scientific research has created as many
problems for society as it has solutions”
Perception of Science: The Public
 “We depend too much on science & not enough
on faith”
 “Scientific research these days doesn't pay
enough attention to the moral values of society”
 “Scientific research has created as many
problems for society as it has solutions”
Perception of Science: The Public
Perception of Science: The Public
Ideology vs Science
 Preserving Core Values in Science Initiative
• Plan B debacle
• Inappropriate Federal appointments
• Declining support for environmental regulation
 Integrity of Science Initiative (UCS)
• Successfully raised awareness about the issues
Values Project
“Now is the time to assertively begin
the long-term process that can help
define and incorporate our own moral principles
into reproductive health education and advocacy work”
Felicia H. Stewart, MD
Scientific Values: What Are They?
 Evidence-based science is key to positive health
outcomes & a fulfilling life
 Pursue answers to questions with honesty
 Encourage curiosity & questioning
 Use results to promote common good
 Recognize the importance of diversity
 and many more. . .
Values Project: Goals
 Make positive values associated with reproductive
health science a valued part of everyday life
 Communicate positive moral attributes of our
research to the public
• Use easily understood language
• Emphasize shared values
• Inform health care practice & policy
Values Project: Objectives
 Professionals
• Ensure that the positive values associated with
reproductive health and science are discussed in every
appropriate forum
 Public
• Develop solid, carefully refined policy concepts with
language & communication approaches that explain
reproductive health science & its positive values
Values Project: Our Challenges
 Learn to speak the language of nonscientists
 Appeal to the positive aspects of belief systems
outside of our experience
 Communicate key scientific values to general
audiences who can benefit
 Communicate the positive benefits of change to
friends & allies
 Learn to be political not electoral
Why a “Values” Project?
 Public majority does not understand the positive
values of science in their everyday lives
 Moderate to progressive movement is ready for new
 Informed public has the best chance to initiate change
for the better
 Sustainable change can only happen if it is values
Why Start With Reproductive Health?
Touchstone for heated political debate
Target for misunderstanding & scientific assault
Affects the majority of people’s lives
Has great potential to effect change
Can be a model for other moderate to progressive
Reproductive Health: The New “Code Word”
UN treaty rejects new rights to abortion,
euthanasia, homosexuality
 “The UN meeting on the rights of persons
with disabilities was on balance a success
for pro-lifers.”, September 1, 2006
WHO Report: “Global Promotion of Abortion”
 “One of the most interminable and vociferous
debates at the UN is over the meaning and
application of the phrase ‘reproductive health’.”
Douglas Sylva
Values Project: Assumptions
Long-term project (15+ years)
No association with election politics
Learn from past mistakes & opponents’ successes
Identify fresh tactics & new trends
Be willing to adapt & change
If the status quo is no longer working, seek change
Seek change through experimentation
Duplication of effort can be positive
Values Project: How will it work?
 Review of existing & in-process research
 Embark on values-based qualitative research
 Develop written communications & outreach plan
 Internalize research results
 Develop a faculty training program & national
education project
 Identify metrics & monitoring tactics
Values Project: How will it work?
 Extend the equity of science as a valued part of life for
everyday Americans
 Train & place expert speakers
 Advocacy, relationship management
 Launch marketing plan for paid & earned media.
 Establish ongoing venues for discussion & change
 Monitor for success & lessons learned
Values Project: Timeframe
 Focus on long-term change
 A truly informed public must be educated on the full
range of reproductive health services
 the value its adds to their lives
 the importance of science in determining
reproductive health innovations & policies
Values Project: Timeframe
 “. . .and this must be done carefully, over time, in
recognition of the true diversity of cultures, values,
and belief systems that make up our societies”
Contraception, September 2006
The Landscape: Media Influence
 Positive
• Widespread dispersion of
reproductive health information
 Negative
• Misperceptions promulgated
• Incomplete information (7 seconds)
• Business of selling news trumps
• Risks not put in context
The Landscape: Political Influence
 Positive
• Debate about health care issues
& benefits
• Platform to express beliefs
 Negative
• Mistrusted, not credible
• Perception of bias
• Policy sacrificed for elections
The Landscape: Academic Influence
 Positive
• Emphasis on value of scientific
• Self critical
 Negative
• “Out of touch” with everyday life
• Communication not emphasized
• Apolitical?
The Landscape: Social Influence
 Positive
• Comfort with the familiar
• Trusted sources of information
• New ways to talk
 Negative
• Misperception, myth, indifference about
• Junk flourishes
The Landscape: Spiritual Influence
 Positive
• Reassurance of belief systems
• Sometimes a marker of self-growth
• Some religious platforms are proreproductive health & pro-science
 Negative
• Misperception, myth, indifference about
• Morality & religion intertwined
The Landscape: Personal Beliefs
 Positive
• Personal conviction & experience
• Reinforced by social interactions
• We are all sexual
 Negative
• Lack of perception of personal biases
• Easy to feel overwhelmed
• Environmentally dependent
Your Challenge
Suspend Disbelief
Be political
Carpe Diem
Lifelong learning
A Final Thought
“Viví dentro del monstruo y le conozco sus
entrañas, y mi honda es la de David”
José Martí
Let’s talk about the future
David Grimes, MD 2006.
To become involved
[email protected]

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