Thursday, September 28, 2023

The Society of Family Planning awards Changemakers in Family Planning grants to respond to institutionalized racism in the field of family planning by providing dedicated support for scholars of color to expand research skills and expertise. This year, CPHLR Law and Policy Analyst Cydney Murray has been selected as a Changemaker! We couldn't be more proud and excited for her to receive this honor and to further her research.

We asked her some questions about why she applied for this opportunity, her research focus, and more.

How did you first hear about the SFP Changemaker opportunity?

CM: Our colleague, Adrienne R. Ghorashi, Esq., was awarded a Changemakers grant in 2021. I have worked closely with Adrienne over the past few years since we share very similar research interests. Once the application for the 2023-2025 award period was available, she encouraged me to apply for the grant myself!

How will this opportunity help in your career growth?

CM: As a recent graduate, this opportunity affords me the time and resources to thoughtfully craft my career trajectory right at the onset of my professional journey. The Changemakers in Family Planning grant funds salary support, professional development activities, formal mentorship, and several networking events. Not only will I refine my research interests and skills throughout the award period, but I expect I will form meaningful professional relationships within the field of family planning research, as well. These opportunities will enable me to leave the award period with concrete, actionable career objectives and the necessary tools to achieve them.

Why is this opportunity valuable to you?

CM: As a member of groups traditionally underrepresented in scientific research, this opportunity allows me to cross barriers to spaces and resources that may otherwise have been more difficult for me to reach. With this award, I can contribute to the development of a body of research that better reflects and better serves my communities. As a Black and Latina woman in particular, the Society of Family Planning’s dedicated support of my examination of abortion laws through a Reproductive Justice lens allows me to engage with my research in a way that is aligned with my lived and shared experiences. This is a profoundly meaningful opportunity for me, especially given how the recent proliferation of abortion bans continues to devastate my communities.

Is there a specific project this opportunity is funding/contributing to?

CM: With the help of the Changemakers grant, I seek to develop a body of research that examines the role and impact of doulas in abortion care through policy surveillance methods within Legal Epidemiology and Reproductive Justice frameworks. As maternal mortality and morbidity are projected to increase due to recent abortion bans, especially within the Black community, doulas may be an essential mitigating factor in injuries and deaths. Doulas provide holistic, dedicated support to achieving the best outcomes for a pregnant person, on the pregnant person’s own terms. Within the current abortion legal landscape, doulas may serve a critical role in ensuring more equitable access to abortion care, and ultimately bettering health outcomes. I aim to leverage this opportunity to initiate the creation of an open-access, cross-sectional dataset that examines laws and policies, across all U.S. states and territories, that impact the role of doulas in abortion care as of July 2023, approximately one year after the Dobbs decision.

What are you looking forward to most about working with SFP?

CM: I am most looking forward to becoming a part of the Society of Family Planning’s network! The chance to meet and collaborate with like-minded, innovative, and devoted family planning researchers is incredibly exciting. As an early career professional, I am eager to learn from my predecessors and to grow alongside my peers. With the current state of affairs, the importance of nurturing a sense of community within the family planning space cannot be understated. I appreciate this opportunity to do so through the Changemakers award.

Is there any other information or details you want known about this Changemaker opportunity or SFP?

CM: I am not the only Changemaker! Please check out the fantastic work of former Changemaker, Adrienne Ghorashi, and the exciting research my fellow 2023 Changemakers are developing. More information about Changemakers’ research, along with other funding opportunities, is available on the Society of Family Planning’s website!