MIC Women’s Health Services
MIC Women’s Health Services, a program of Public Health Solutions, has been providing quality, comprehensive family planning services for over 50 years. With locations in Fort Greene and Eastern Parkway, MIC provided services to over 3,500 clients in 2015.
We spoke to Sandra Williams, Senior Program Director at MIC Women’s Health Services, to learn more about their approach to expanding their services to meet the needs of males in their community. Williams explained that, just a few years ago, when the conversation around providing Title X services to males began in earnest, MIC Women’s Health Services was not seeing any male clients. At this time, it became apparent that it would be necessary to develop a strategy for engaging males at their health centers in order to be compliant with Title X requirements.
One of the first steps that MIC Women’s Health Services took was to change the provider composition, replacing Certified Nurse Midwives with Nurse Practitioners when opportunities presented. Once the appropriate providers were on board, MIC launched a “Bring Your Partner” campaign, which encouraged female clients to bring their partners in for services. “This brought some men in, but not many”, shared Williams. It was not until they established a strong partnership with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene STD Clinic, situated on the floor below MIC’s Fort Greene location, that there was a significant increase in the number of male clients served.
The MIC Women’s Health Services’ Peer Educator began working closely with the STD clinic after realizing that there was a constant flow of both males and females that could benefit from more comprehensive reproductive health services at MIC. She set up a table with information on the services offered at Fort Greene, and began to strike-up a conversation with clients entering the building. Once staff at the STD Clinic realized that their clients could receive comprehensive family planning services at MIC Women’s Health Services, they began reaching out to the MIC team when the number of clients seeking services exceeded their capacity.
The team at MIC Women’s Health Services has developed an innovative tracking system to measure the success of their outreach efforts. During outreach events, MIC Women’s Health Services’ Peer Educator provides a sticker to every individual that she speaks to, keeping track of how many stickers are distributed and how many of the individuals followed through to receive services. She expanded this approach to the Eastern Parkway site, where she also engages clients in the waiting rooms to link both males and females to care.
Williams shared that as a result of the in-reach efforts conducted since spring 2015, the number of clients engaged for services has increased from 10 in 2014, to 523 in 2015. MIC also experienced a 20% increase in the number of adolescent males (age 15-17) and young adult males (20-24) seen between 2014 and 2015. Currently, the proportion of male clients seen at MIC Women’s Health Services is up to 8.7%, mirroring the national rate of just over 8% males served at Title X-funded health centers.1 To build on this momentum, the team at MIC Women’s Health Services has established monthly and annual outreach goals and share their progress regularly with the staff.
The NYS COE looks forward to seeing what is in store for the team at MIC Women’s Health Services as they continue to find innovative ways to identify and engage males in their family planning service area!
1Fowler CI, Gable J, Wang J, Lasater B (2015). Family Planning Annual Report: 2014 national summary. Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI International.