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Collaborative Research In Reproductive Health

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Div III Student and Alum make connections

At Parkmed Physicians Clinic, one of New York City's main abortion clinics, Kimberley Bullard 06F spent a year talking to women just before they underwent a second-trimester abortion.

These conversations were part of two projects. One was her Div III, an original study she designed, implemented, and wrapped up this May on the factors facing women who have abortions.

Kimberly Bullard
"I spent time with a lot of women, heard a lot of their stories. Their difficulties inspired me to do my Div III," says Bullard, who received a Denice O'Neill award from Hampshire to support her research. She has presented her work at three conferences and has been invited to present her poster at the American Public Health Association's annual meeting.

Bullard talked to more than 1,000 women over the course of the year. "I don't think the public has compassion for women having later abortions, who are so often the most vulnerable in our society," she says. "I see medicine both as a way to provide health services and a way to address social inequalities."

The second project was an investigation with Miriam Cremer 87F, MD MPH, to compare the placement of an intrauterine device (IUD) immediately following an abortion rather than during the follow-up visit. Their research led to a Blue Ribbon Award for best poster at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists meeting earlier this year.

"As expected, women who had the IUD placement immediately after were much more likely to be using the IUD or any form of birth control than other women and consequently less likely to have another unplanned pregnancy," says Bullard.

In her second and third year, she worked intensively with Cremer's organization, Basic Health International, in El Salvador. She visited the country several times for conferences, as part of a Jan term course she TA'd, for medical delegations, and for a research project testing inexpensive but reliable methods for detecting cervical cancer.

Bullard met Cremer through her advisor, Elizabeth Conlisk, associate professor of public health and director of the Five College Program in Culture, Health, and Science. Conlisk regularly co-teaches a Jan term course with Cremer and the two have published articles together, including a recent collaboration with alum Anne Marie Darling 01F, who wrote as the first author (the paper was based on Darling's Div III work).

"Patient care, both internationally and domestically, has inspired me to go into medicine," Bullard says, noting that without the experiences she had at Hampshire, she might not have considered doing medicine. She is taking a year off to work and travel before attending San Francisco State University's pre-med program.

Div III faculty committee: Elizabeth Conlisk, associate professor of public health and director of the Five College Program in Culture, Health, and Science, Professor of Philosophy and Director of CLPP Marlene Fried, and Miriam Cremer.

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