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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 20 th century public health advocate

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Adding value to reproductive health research l.jpg

Adding Valueto Reproductive Health Research

Communicating about the moral dimensions of science

The Added Values Project

A new initiative from the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals

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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

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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

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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

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Wanda Jones, DrPH

  • Health advocate for patients & providers

    • Eliminating women’s health disparities

    • Preventing violence against women

    • HIV/AIDS prevention & treatment

    • Disabilities

  • 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

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“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

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Moral Values?


  • Moral Values (22%) 18% 80%

  • Economy/Jobs (20%) 80% 18%

  • Terrorism (19%) 14% 86%

  • Iraq (15%) 73% 23%

  • Health Care (8%) 77% 23%

  • Taxes (5%) 73% 26%

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Same AP Poll

  • Abortion

    • 55% want it to remain legal

  • Stem cell research

    • Ample support

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Moral Values?

  • Honesty

  • Responsibility

  • Fairness

  • Freedom

  • Empathy

  • Self-determination

  • Knowledge

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AP Poll “Message”

  • Perception

    • “Moral values” equals opposition to abortion, gay marriage

  • Reality

    • “Moral values” equal different things to different people

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Religious Example

  • “Lost Christianities”

    • Gospel of Thomas

    • Gospel of Mary Magdalene

    • Gospel of Judas

    • Carpocratians

      Bart D. Ehrman

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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”

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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”

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Ideology vs Science

  • Preserving Core Values in Science Initiative (ARHP & RHTP)

    • Plan B debacle

    • Inappropriate Federal appointments

    • Declining support for environmental regulation

  • Integrity of Science Initiative (UCS)

    • Successfully raised awareness about the issues

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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

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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. . .

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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

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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

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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

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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 directions

  • Informed public has the best chance to initiate change for the better

  • Sustainable change can only happen if it is values driven

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Absolute risk reduction (attributable risk)



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 movements


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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

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WHO Report: “Global Promotion of Abortion” homosexuality

  • “One of the most interminable and vociferous debates at the UN is over the meaning and application of the phrase ‘reproductive health’.”

    Douglas Sylva

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Values Project: Assumptions homosexuality

  • 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

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Values Project: How will it work? homosexuality


  • 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

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Values Project: How will it work? homosexuality


  • 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

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Values Project: Timeframe homosexuality

  • 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

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Values Project: Timeframe homosexuality

  • “. . .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

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The Landscape: Media Influence homosexuality

  • Positive

    • Widespread dispersion of reproductive health information

  • Negative

    • Misperceptions promulgated

    • Incomplete information (7 seconds)

    • Business of selling news trumps science

    • Risks not put in context

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The Landscape: Political Influence homosexuality

  • Positive

    • Debate about health care issues & benefits

    • Platform to express beliefs

  • Negative

    • Mistrusted, not credible

    • Perception of bias

    • Policy sacrificed for elections

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The Landscape: Academic Influence homosexuality

  • Positive

    • Emphasis on value of scientific process

    • Self critical

  • Negative

    • “Out of touch” with everyday life

    • Communication not emphasized

    • Apolitical?

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The Landscape: Social Influence homosexuality

  • Positive

    • Comfort with the familiar

    • Trusted sources of information

    • New ways to talk

  • Negative

    • Misperception, myth, indifference about science

    • Junk flourishes

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The Landscape: Spiritual Influence homosexuality

  • Positive

    • Reassurance of belief systems

    • Sometimes a marker of self-growth

    • Some religious platforms are pro-reproductive health & pro-science

  • Negative

    • Misperception, myth, indifference about science

    • Morality & religion intertwined

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The Landscape: Personal Beliefs homosexuality

  • 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

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Your Challenge homosexuality

  • Suspend Disbelief

  • Be political

  • Carpe Diem

  • Lifelong learning

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A Final Thought homosexuality

“Viví dentro del monstruo y le conozco sus entrañas, y mi honda es la de David”

José Martí

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Questions homosexuality

Let’s talk about the future

To become involved

David Grimes, MD 2006.