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ST. PAUL — Today, Sarah Stoesz announced her plan to step aside as President and CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States (PPNCS) after two decades leading the region’s largest provider of sexual and reproductive health care, education, and advocacy. Planned Parenthood health centers provide high-quality, affordable comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services including birth control, STI testing and treatment, cancer screenings and abortion care. Over twenty years, Stoesz has built PPNCS into one of the largest Planned Parenthood affiliates in the country, starting with Minnesota and South Dakota and then adding North Dakota, Iowa, and Nebraska to become a five-state organization provides health care to more than 100,000 patients each year.  

Stoesz plans to stay in the role until October 2022 while the PPNCS Board conducts a comprehensive search. The search committee will launch in January 2022, led by former Minneapolis Mayor Sharon Sayles-Belton who also serves as Vice-Chair of the PPNCS Board.   

"In the twenty years Sarah has filled this complex and challenging role, she has built a powerful organization worthy of the people it serves. She’s a friend and confidante and I was honored to work alongside her. Planned Parenthood is both a health care organization and an indispensable advocate for people’s fundamental freedom to control their own lives. Sarah deeply understands both these missions, and thanks to her leadership, Planned Parenthood’s patients and supporters have a stronger voice in state capitols, in the courts, and in the ballot box.  I join so many in thanking Sarah for her tremendous leadership,” said U.S. Senator Tina Smith. 

“The non-judgmental care that Planned Parenthood provides is transformative for our patients and our communities. Serving as President and CEO has been the opportunity of a lifetime and the greatest joy I could have imagined. I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished together as a Planned Parenthood community over the past 20 years and now is the time to make way for new leadership. I’m excited to hand off this powerful organization to the next leader, who will champion our mission during an historic time for reproductive rights in our country,” said Stoesz.

Stoesz has partnered with Planned Parenthood donors to lead major new investments in patient care across the region, including expanding abortion services, building new flagship facilities in Minneapolis and St. Paul, and modernizing facilities across the region. During her tenure, Planned Parenthood’s education program in the region has grown to 50 educators who provide science-based, culturally specific programs for youth, adults, and professionals. Under Stoesz’s leadership, the organization has also built a robust research department including studies of new contraceptive technology, health equity and abortion access.  

In addition to growing the impact of health care and education, Stoesz has also expanded the political power of the organization. She has established a strong presence at state capitols, an ongoing litigation strategy, and electoral programs via the organization’s 501(c)4 and Political Action Committees, including defeating four anti-abortion ballot initiatives in North Dakota and South Dakota, increasing the margin of victory each time.  

During her tenure at Planned Parenthood, Stoesz helped create two companies: Afaxys is a first of its kind socially conscious company that ensures stable pricing and reliable access to birth control and other sexual and reproductive health care products and BRIDGE Health Partners provides IT, revenue cycle management and other services to health care and non-profits. She has held leadership positions on many boards including Afaxys, BRIDGE, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the Planned Parenthood Association of Chief Executive Officers, the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and The Loft Literary Center.  In addition to other awards, Stoesz was named Health Care Executive of the Year by Minnesota Business Magazine in 2016.


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.