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St. Paul, MN— Asha Hassan, Associate Research Manager for Planned Parenthood North Central States, has been named a 2021 Trust Award recipient by Minneapolis-based Women’s Health Leadership Trust. Hassan is recognized for her first-in-the-nation research study looking into potential impact of tear gas exposure on reproductive health.  

Hassan crafted the research study based on concerns she heard from fellow community members following exposure to chemical agents during protests of the murder of George Floyd.  In response, she quickly created and launched the Tear Gas and Reproductive Health Study in collaboration with the University of Minnesota to examine the issue, creating the first study in the U.S. to examine the potential connections between reproductive health and chemical agents.

“We are so grateful for Asha’s work to advance reproductive health equity in our country,” said Sarah Stoesz, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States. “She listened to her fellow community members’ concerns and applied her expertise to help find answers to these critical questions, which science has ignored for decades.  Asha’s work will create a more equitable future by helping us better understand the impact of these chemical agents on health. Congratulations to Asha and her entire team; we are so honored to have her as a leader at Planned Parenthood.” 

There is currently limited research and information available on the chemical agents used by law enforcement and previous research has focused on the impact to respiratory health, and few studies have included gender diversity. For years, law enforcement has used chemical agents against people of color at a higher rate while at the same time, the limited research has not adequately included representation from communities of color or people of different gender identities.  Asha’s study is a crucial step in investigating possible connections between reproductive health and chemical agents. 

“I am honored to receive the 2021 TRUST Award for community engagement on the Tear Gas and Reproductive Health Study. I’m excited to continue working on this study and present new findings of our data so our communities are informed about any potential risks to reproductive health,” said Asha Hassan, Associate Research Manager for Planned Parenthood North Central States. “We still have so much to learn about structural health inequities, but with authentic community engagement so much progress can be made.  I’m excited that research at Planned Parenthood North Central States continues to ask the difficult questions needed to address racism, injustices, and inequities, and that we are playing our part to create healthier, more equitable communities for future generations.” 

Research findings will be released as soon as they are available, so that communities have the most up-to-date information on the health impact of chemical agents used by law enforcement.
 


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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 55,000 people in our region.