Washington, D.C.—The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), recognizing the critical need for essentials of abortion care education in the aftermath of the catastrophic decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, has collaborated with the Council on Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology (CREOG), Innovating Education in Reproductive Health (IERH), and the Kenneth J. Ryan Residency Training Program in Abortion and Family Planning (Ryan Program) to launch an abortion care curriculum available to obstetrics and gynecology residents and residency programs across the United States.
The collaborators in this project worked together for a year to expedite the launch of IERH’s Patient-Centered Abortion Care Education (PACE) curriculum, which is now available free of charge to trainees in every state, including ones with abortion bans or restrictions.
The comprehensive, web-based PACE curriculum focuses on the essentials of abortion care education, including medical knowledge, technical skills, and evidence-based counseling and practices. This curriculum is housed on the IERH learning platform, includes four self-paced modules that encompass seven total hours of content, and features interactive videos with leading educators in family planning. Content is presented in four areas:
- General Principles of Abortion Care in Its Multiple Contexts
- Best Practices in Nonjudgmental, Patient-Centered Pregnancy Options and Abortion Counseling
- Provision of Safe, High-Quality Abortion Care
- Patient-Centered Early Pregnancy Loss Care
The four modules are followed by a low-fidelity simulation to give learners a hands-on representative experience in an abortion procedure. PACE also has an embedded capability to track learners’ progress and assessment tools for medical knowledge, including pre- and post-evaluations. This program is available without charge to all Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education-accredited residency programs in obstetrics and gynecology.
“Abortion training advances critical skills in obstetrics and gynecology, regardless of whether a physician plans to provide abortion care in their daily practice,” said AnnaMarie Connolly, MD, FACOG, chief of education and academic affairs at ACOG. “While the PACE curriculum cannot replace the essential role of hands-on clinical training in abortion care, it does give residents a foundation in the essentials of abortion care. Thanks to PACE, those who travel to receive hands-on clinical training in abortion care will be ready to develop their skills on day one.”
Biftu Mengesha, MD, MAS, FACOG, director of IERH, said, “Abortion essentials are a critical part of comprehensive obstetrics and gynecology training, and all residents should have access to the PACE curriculum. We are proud to make sure that residency programs across the country are able to partner with us to make this education available to their residents.”
Jody Steinauer, MD, PhD, FACOG, director of the Ryan Program, said, “For nearly a quarter of a century, the Ryan Program has proven the positive impact of supporting obstetrics and gynecology residency programs to integrate clinical and didactic abortion education. The PACE program provides us with an innovative new vehicle for expanding the reach of these critical curricular programs.”
The curriculum was evaluated during a pilot phase involving residency programs in 17 states, including states with total bans and those with gestational bans. Participants in the pilot program provided feedback to the curriculum developers through a post-program completion survey.
“CREOG’s educational objectives include abortion care, as it is evidenced-based health care that people need,” said Erika H. Banks, MD, FACOG, CREOG Council chair. “The PACE program will support residency programs in meeting the CREOG objectives using an innovative, interactive, and tested curriculum together with options for low-cost simulation, all created by experts in our field.”
Verda J. Hicks, MD, FACOG, president of ACOG, said, “The Dobbs decision has had devastating effects on the obstetrician–gynecologist community and on the patients for whom we provide care, and one of the areas of grave concern to ACOG is residency training. The PACE curriculum will help ensure that all obstetrics and gynecology residents have access to the essentials in abortion care training that will help them provide their patients with the care they need.”