OUR VISION & MISSION  

Midwest Access Project envisions a society in which every person has access to comprehensive, high quality, patient-centered sexual and reproductive health care in their community.

MAP improves access to comprehensive reproductive health care by training providers in abortion, miscarriage care, contraception, and pregnancy options counseling. Rooted in the Midwest, MAP’s innovative training model fills gaps nationwide in medical education and clinical training.

 

Who We Are

Midwest Access Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization incorporated in Illinois. MAP was founded in 2006 by a group of Chicago family physicians and reproductive health advocates who observed that their patients and clients had difficulty accessing comprehensive reproductive health services.  At the same time, our founders encountered many local medical students, residents, and health care providers who wanted to offer these services but could not find the necessary training.

MAP fills a unique need by offering training in comprehensive reproductive health care including abortion care, contraception, miscarriage management, and pregnancy options counseling. MAP trainees include physicians, nurses, advance practice clinicians, residents, and students who do not have access to full scope reproductive health training through their schools or jobs.

Since welcoming its first trainee in June 2007, MAP has trained nearly 250 individuals, and in 2017 we celebrated 10 years of fostering the growth of a new generation of reproductive health providers. In 2020, MAP’s board and staff look forward to a new decade full of growth, innovation, and leadership within the national clinical training landscape.

 

Why our training programs are necessary

lack of training

A 2015 review found more than 40% of OB-GYN and family medicine residencies in Illinois were housed in Catholic or other religiously restrictive hospitals.

Most medical and nursing training programs in the country do not provide adequate education in reproductive health. Some are restricted by conservative state laws or cultural norms, while many are housed in religiously affiliated hospitals that adhere to faith-based prohibitions against reproductive health training and procedures. A 2017 survey of obstetricians and gynecologists who trained at Catholic institutions felt that religion-based policies negatively affected their training experiences and the range of reproductive health services they subsequently provide in practice.

Barriers Accessing Training

The associated costs for training – such as travel, housing, licensing fees and malpractice insurance – can exceed $5,000 for a month long clinical rotation. 

These costs can be prohibitive. In addition, trainees who lack clinical training in their institutions must seek it independently and outside of required curricular frameworks. Education institutions seldom offer help to identify training opportunities. Also, the time window allotted by the residency programs for this training is very narrow and established months in advance, requiring applicants to plan far ahead of schedule to ensure clinical training is available to them.  On occasion, the educational institutions themselves prevent clinical training: bureaucratic delays, refusal to extend malpractice coverage, or outright rejection of reproductive health training.

REGIONAL HOSTILITY LIMITS ACCESS TO CARE AND TRAINING

In 2018, 5,668 people traveled to Illinois from other states to receive abortions, up from 5,528 in 2017 and 4,543 in 2016. 

Illinois is surrounded by states hostile to abortion rights. As a consequence, a May 2018 study from the University of California at San Francisco found that, compared with other regions of the U.S., the Midwest had the fewest number of abortion clinics based on the population of women of childbearing age. Within the region, availability of abortion providers differed drastically. For example, Illinois had about two dozen clinics, roughly one for every 120,135 women of reproductive age. Whereas in neighboring Wisconsin, researchers found three facilities providing abortions, about one for every 423,590 women, according to data collected in early 2017.