Research from the Field

Johnson, D., Juras, R., Riley, P., Chatterji, M., & Sloane, P. (2017). A randomized controlled trial of the impact of a family planning mHealth service on knowledge and use of contraception. Contraception, 95(1), 90–97.

In a randomized control study in Kenya, researchers evaluated the effect of a text message service providing family planning information on participant knowledge and use of contraception. New consumers of the m4RH text service were assigned to either full or limited access groups. Full-access consumers were provided with messages on benefits and disadvantages of family planning methods, a clinic-locator, and stories of role models making family planning decisions. Limited-access consumers had limited access to a clinic-locator and motivational messages about general health topics. Outcome data on family planning knowledge and contraception use was collected via text message. Response rates were low (16.3%-51.6%, depending on survey wave) but didn’t vary significantly between groups. The full-access group performed better on knowledge questions, but there was no difference between groups for behavioral outcomes related to contraceptive use. The results indicate that text messaging services (mHealth) can be a cost-effective strategy for increasing family planning knowledge but are unlikely to lead to behavior change on their own. Full article available here.


Romero, L. M., H, P., Olaiya, O., Ch, M. B. B., Hallum-Montes, R., Ph, D., … Middleton, D. (2017). Efforts to Increase Implementation of Evidence-Based Clinical Practices to Improve Adolescent-Friendly Reproductive Health Services. Journal of Adolescent Health, 60(3), S30–S37.

This study analyzed data from health centers participating in a CDC-funded teen pregnancy prevention initiative. Data from 48 participating health centers was analyzed to identify evidence-based clinical practices that were being implemented at the centers and any opportunities for improvement. Data was also analyzed from a sample of 30 health center partners regarding their experience implementing evidence-based practices and any barriers or facilitators to that implementation. The authors also describe technical assistance provided to health centers to aid in their implementation of evidence-based practices. Researchers noted an increase in health centers that implemented evidence-based practices from the second to third year of the initiative, primarily in the provision of contraceptives and offering Quick Start. Results of the study suggest that assessing health center needs, identifying barriers and facilitators to implementation, and adapting technical assistance and training to those needs and barriers can lead to the successful implementation of evidence-based practices among that health centers. The results also indicate that leadership, communication between leadership and staff, and staff attitudes and beliefs can influence the implementation of evidence-based clinical practices among health centers can be improved. Full article available here.


Johnston, E M., Courtot, C., Kenney, G M. Access to Contraception in 2016 and What It Means to Women.  Washington, DC: Urban Institute, 2004. The Urban Institute. The Urban Institute, January 2017. Web. March. 2017.

In a policy brief that is part of a larger project examining the impact of expanded access to contraceptives on women and their families, the Urban Institute reported on data from their Survey of Family Planning and Women’s Lives (SFPWL) to estimate access to birth control and the role of birth control in women’s lives in 2016. The brief focuses on women at risk for unplanned pregnancy and found high levels of positive perceptions of birth control among respondents; the majority of respondents perceived birth control as reducing stress, helping women to keep working, and having health benefits for women. Full article available here.


Hasstedt, K. (2017). Why We Cannot Afford to Undercut the Title X National Family Planning Program. Guttmacher Policy Review. Vol 20.

In a special series on policies addressing reproductive health under the current administration, the Guttmacher Institute argues for continued funding of the Title X national family planning program. The review notes that Title X serves 1 out of 5 women needing reproductive services in the United States and argues that rates of unintended pregnancy would be as much as 33% higher without the program. The review also notes that Title X-funded providers offer higher quality and more timely care when compared to public centers without Title X funding and suggests that Title X advances fundamental reproductive rights for women.  Full article available here.