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Q&A with Associate Medical Director Dr. Nimi Mastey

In addition to providing care for tens of thousands of people every year, PPMM has been involved in important medical research studies as well. Now, for the first time in three years, we are participating in several exciting new projects that will benefit our patients. “As a Matter of Fact” caught up with Associate Medical Director Dr. Nimi Mastey to find out more.

As a Matter of Fact: Dr. Mastey, could you explain why it’s important for PPMM to participate in medical research projects and studies?

Dr. Mastey: Sure. Research is one of PPFA’s four “mission pillars,” along with care, education, and advocacy. Research informs those other three pillars -- in particular, the care we provide our patients. We are very excited to bring research back to our affiliate to continue to improve and advance the care we provide.

AMOF: Can you give us an example of a past research project we were involved in and how it helped our patients?

Dr. Mastey: Yes, for example, it is because of research done at Planned Parenthood affiliates that we know that the hormonal IUD is a very effective option for emergency contraception.|

Research helps us pinpoint where there are needs for or gaps in care-delivery. It’s helped us develop new birth control methods and deliver abortion care in a better, more patient-centered way.

AMOF: Can you describe the research studies we are participating in now?

Dr. Mastey: We are excited about a few studies we have coming up with three universities, including two top institutions rights here in the Bay Area.

First, we’re partnering with the University of Utah on a study that further investigates using the hormonal IUD for emergency contraception. This study has the potential to change Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for the hormonal IUD. The hormonal IUD has the potential to be more effective than Plan B or Ella.

We are also partnering with UCSF on a survey-based study for our patients to see if people can correctly self-identify if they are eligible for a medication abortion (MAB) prior to having an ultrasound. This study will help build data to make access to MABs easier for patients. It could also build a case for over-the-counter medication abortions in the future.

Finally, we will be partnering with Stanford on a study to explore if Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) works well for pain-control during first-trimester abortions. This could potentially provide our patients with alternatives to sedation during in-health center abortions.

AMOF: How long will it take for these studies to be complete?

Dr. Mastey: The University of Utah and Stanford studies will probably go on for a couple of years. But the UCSF study would likely be completed in a much shorter period of time.

AMOF: It sounds like PPMM will be playing a key role in, potentially, very exciting advancements, right?

Dr. Mastey: Yes, participating in these studies really keeps us on the cutting edge! Because we provide care to such a large number of patients over a wide geographic area, we are able to partner with incredible institutions to help advance science and medicine. It’s very exciting to be part of this because of what we’ll be able to offer our patients in all of our communities. It keeps us moving forward.

Learn More about PPMM's Clinical Research

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