Howell Foundation addresses the influence of culture in family planning and reproductive health.

Howell Foundation addresses the influence of culture in family planning and reproductive health.

In our continued efforts to better the health of women, including family planning, in 2012, the Howell Foundation made a commitment to fund research partnerships between academic and community-based organizations. The goal of our Community Engagement Initiative (CEI) is to support these partnerships; working collaboratively to develop and evaluate programs designed to improve women’s health. Our priority is to ensure the development of evidenced-informed projects that address relevant issues affecting women’s health within the greater San Diego community, with an emphasis on underserved women.

The 2018 Community Engagement Initiative recipient is Dr. Sheila Mody, MD MPH.  She is Director, Fellowship in Family Planning; Director, Division of Family Planning at the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences of University of California, San Diego (UCSD).

Her project will focus on analyzing how culture influences family planning health, as well as how providers can address their needs in a respectful manner.  The research project is a collaboration between the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at UCSD, the Refugee Health Unit at the UCSD Center for Community Health, and United Women of East Africa Support Team (UWEAST).   Dr. Mody and her partners will be exploring reproductive health patient-provider interactions and adapt patient-centered reproductive health counseling tools that can be accessible, culturally sensitive, and appropriate for refugee women.

“Specifically I’ll be looking at East African women that live in City Heights.  I’m really excited to take a deeper dive into how we can improve patient care by doing a qualitative research, looking at their reproductive health needs, and getting their input in terms of contraceptive counseling tool that could be utilized by clinicians to really be very respectful of the cultural influences .So I can’t thank you enough for this opportunity.  It’s really very exciting and I look forward to sharing the results from the study and the stories from these women with you shortly.”

To date, the Howell Foundation has funded 6 CEI grants totaling $100,000.  For information on the Howell Foundation’s CEI please email Please note: 2019 CEI guidelines, application and award amount will be available in spring 2019.


About the Doris A. Howell Foundation:

For over 20 years, The Doris A. Howell Foundation for Women’s Health Research has been dedicated to keeping to women we love healthy by making a long-term, positive impact on women’s health.  To date, it is the premier organization advancing women’s health.

The organization does so by funding scholarships to students researching issues affecting women’s health; providing a forum for medical experts, scientists, doctors, and researchers to convey timely information on topics relevant to women’s health, and by funding research initiatives that improve the health of under-served women and increase awareness and advocacy in the community; bringing women’s health research to a full cycle.                                                                                          

Event summary prepared by Carolyn Northrup and revised by Carole Banka, Ph.D., with information provided by the keynote speakers.


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