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ST. LOUIS - Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri today announced Dr. Colleen P. McNicholas would be joining the nonprofit as its new Chief Medical Officer. This position is the first of its kind at the affiliate, which has traditionally relied on contracted medical directors from Washington University for clinical leadership.

Introducing Our New CMO - Dr. Colleen McNicholas Introducing Our New CMO - Dr. Colleen McNicholas

Dr. McNicholas brings more than 10 years of experience as an obstetrician-gynecologist with a strong track record of high-quality patient care and impactful reproductive health advocacy. She comes to us from the Washington University School of Medicine, where she was an attending physician, associate professor and director of the Ryan Residency Collaborative.

“We are incredibly honored to welcome Dr. McNicholas as our new Chief Medical Officer,” said Cathy Williams, Interim CEO and President of PPSLRSWMO. “She’s proven herself to be a cutting-edge reproductive health expert and a fierce reproductive rights advocate. I’m so excited to leverage her talent, not only for her expertise on our current range of services, but because Dr. McNicholas will look forward to develop new services and delivery strategies to reach those left behind by the current safety net health care system.“

Dr. McNicholas’ appointment comes at a time of unprecedented attacks levied by Missouri lawmakers and Gov. Parson’s administration on all aspects of reproductive health care. By contrast, Illinois is leading the nation in making reproductive health care accessible to anyone. Maternal mortality rates in Missouri are 50% higher than the rest of the country. A syphilis outbreak is sweeping the state. With only seven percent of more than 600 safety-net providers offering comprehensive and accessible reproductive health care, Missouri’s safety net is stretched beyond its own capacity to serve those in the state.

Meanwhile, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker recently signed into law the Reproductive Health Act, a bill removing abortion from the state’s criminal code and protecting access to abortion should Roe v. Wade be further gutted or overturned. 

“The current status of our time highlights the importance of expanding our lens and diving deep into the intersections that result in disparities - pay inequity, environmental exposure, immigrant targeting, transgender visibility, and systemic racism have all contributed to suboptimal and sometimes horrific health outcomes,” Dr. McNicholas said. “Planned Parenthood is uniquely positioned to stand with each of these justice movements to help move all of us forward. Standing tall, ears open, hands out, I can’t wait to be part of this organization’s positive impact on our community.”

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Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri (PPSLRSWMO) has provided high quality, supportive health care in the region since 1932. PPSLRSWMO is the area leader in sexual and reproductive health care, providing contraception, cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment, education, and other services to tens of thousands of women, men, and young people each year. Patients can make appointments online or by phone at 1-800-230-PLAN (7526).