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Blue background with text: "Planned Parenthood Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sarah Traxler Wins Health Care Hero Award"

St. Paul, MN— Chief Medical Officer for Planned Parenthood North Central States, Sarah Traxler, MD, has been named a 2021 Health Care Hero by Minneapolis, St. Paul Business Journal. The Health Care Hero Award honors individuals who put innovation, care, dedication, and compassion into improving the human condition.

While navigating Governors’ varied responses to COVID-19 across a 5-state region, Dr. Traxler led the Planned Parenthood team to launch new telehealth services during the pandemic including Gender Affirming Hormone Therapy via telehealth, at-home Sexually Transmitted Infection testing kits, and at-home HIV testing kits in Minnesota, plus anxiety and depression medication management and curbside prescription pick-up. Even now, as we’ve returned to in-person services, telehealth services account for nearly ten percent of patient visits at Planned Parenthood North Central States. 

“During the global pandemic, Dr. Traxler and Planned Parenthood’s health services team has found innovative ways to meet our patients where they are while keeping our patients and health center staff safe,” said Sarah Stoesz, President, and CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States. “2020 was an unprecedented year, but sexual and reproductive health care needs don’t go away during a pandemic. Our health services team—with Dr. Traxler at the helm—have gone above and beyond in their efforts to fight a global pandemic while continuing to provide quality, non-judgmental care for patients, and we are beyond grateful every day for their commitment to our mission. Their ingenuity and dedication launched multiple new services, many that will continue long after the pandemic is over and will help shape a more equitable future in our state and our region. Congratulations to Dr. Traxler, and her entire team. I am proud and honored to work alongside you.” 

Dr. Traxler has special interest in advancing equity in reproductive health care. Her leadership and dedication to Planned Parenthood’s mission have resulted in tens of thousands of Minnesotans accessing care that they may not have otherwise been able to afford, while also expanding services to communities hit hardest by health inequities.  

Planned Parenthood services have been more crucial than ever during the global pandemic, as people of color and people with low incomes continue to face enormous obstacles to health care and the large risks of becoming severely ill from COVID-19.


Planned Parenthood North Central States and its subsidiary organizations provide, promote, and protect reproductive and sexual health through high quality care, education and advocacy. A member of America’s most trusted reproductive health care provider, our affiliate is proud to support and operate 30 health centers across our five-state region (Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota).  Each year, we provide health care to nearly 115,000 people and health education to more than 45,000 people in our region.