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California Announces Historic $20 Million Investment to Advance and Improve Access to Reproductive Health Care

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WHAT TO KNOW: Two groundbreaking initiatives will deliver comprehensive reproductive health training for existing health workers and students in California — reflecting California’s commitment to advancing reproductive health care accessibility, inclusivity, and quality throughout the state and for those who lack access to care outside California.

SACRAMENTO — Today, California is announcing a historic $20 million investment in the state’s reproductive health care workforce that aims to transform access to reproductive health care across the state by training a diverse workforce of health care professionals who have committed to providing reproductive health care services, including abortion care.

“Investing in the future of reproductive health is not just a financial commitment; it’s a commitment to equity, accessibility, and empowering communities,” said HCAI Director Elizabeth Landsberg. “The $20 million investment in California’s Reproductive Health Service Corps and the Pharmacists CARE Initiative marks a pivotal moment in our collective efforts to transform reproductive health care. Together, we strive to bridge gaps, diversify our health care workforce, and empower pharmacists to play a crucial role in comprehensive reproductive health services.”

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT: California’s Reproductive Health Service Corps (RHSC) and the Pharmacists Comprehensive Abortion and Reproductive Health Empowerment (Pharmacists CARE) Initiative have received a combined $20 million to address critical gaps in access to abortion care, to diversify the reproductive health care workforce, and to empower pharmacists to provide comprehensive reproductive health services.

“With this $20 million investment, California is embarking on a transformative journey to ensure that reproductive health care is both accessible and equitable,” said California Health Human Services Agency Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. “This investment marks a significant stride toward a healthier, more inclusive future for California.”

HOW WE GOT HERE: The RHSC and Pharmacists CARE Initiatives were created through Assembly Bill 1918 (Petrie-Norris) and subsequently funded through Governor Newsom’s 2022 budget.  AB 1918 was based on recommendations developed by the California Future of Abortion Council to respond to drastic changes in the abortion access landscape.

BIGGER PICTURE: Both initiatives advance and improve reproductive health care across California, providing access to comprehensive training, addressing gaps in access, and diversifying this critical health care workforce. The combined $20 million investment reflects a commitment to comprehensive reproductive health services and a vision for a healthier, more inclusive future.

ABOUT THE REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH SERVICE CORPS: California’s RHSC is a statewide consortium funded by an $18 million grant from HCAI. RHSC’s main goals are to address barriers to care and serve under-resourced areas and communities in California through diversification of the workforce, creating new training pathways, and filling provider gaps. The consortium is coordinated by Training in Early Abortion for Comprehensive Healthcare (TEACH) and includes TEACH; California State University East Bay, California Department of Nursing; Nurses for Sexual and Reproductive Health (NSRH); and University of California, San Francisco’s primary care advanced practice nursing specialties, Black Midwifery Fellowship, and Abortion Care Training Incubator for Outstanding Nurse Scholars (ACTIONS) program.

Key Objectives:

  1. Diversifying the Workforce: The RHSC aims to diversify the reproductive health workforce to reflect the state’s racial, ethnic, linguistic, and economic diversity by prioritizing training for traditionally underserved populations and carving out educational pathways for health care team members who may never have otherwise considered this field a part of their career trajectory.
  2. Full-Spectrum Reproductive Health Training: Offering comprehensive training to various health care professionals, including registered nurses, nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives, physician’s assistants, licensed midwives, physicians, licensed vocational nurses, doulas, medical assistants, community health workers, and paramedics to empower a wide range of health workers to provide and refer to abortion services when needed.
  3. Filling Provider Gaps: Over the next four years, the program will address provider shortages in underserved areas and provide funding and technical assistance to clinics for the integration of services to address access and equity gaps in reproductive health care.

ABOUT PHARMACISTS CARE: Pharmacists CAREis a partnership betweenBirth Control Pharmacist, the California Pharmacists Association (CPhA) and the CPhA Foundation. This partnership is funded by a $2 million grant from HCAI. The initiative aims to significantly increase access to medication abortion and reproductive health services in pharmacies across California.

Key Objectives:

  1. Access Expansion: The initiative will extend medication abortion services to medically underserved communities by providing training and implementation support for pharmacists. This will enable pharmacies to provide a fuller range of reproductive health services at their practice site locations including directly providing services allowed by state policy and the pharmacists’ scope of practice, creating greater access to comprehensive reproductive health options.
  2. Safe and Professional Services: All training adheres to the highest medical and ethical standards to guarantee patients receive quality care and information.
  3. Mini Grants to Pharmacies: The program includes mini grants administered by the CPhA Foundation to support pharmacies in implementing abortion services.