February 25, 2014 Leave a comment
On Tuesday, February 11, the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics and Ci3 (the Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Innovation in Sexual and Reproductive Health) hosted the first of a series of brown bag lunch talks called “Cookies & Conversation with Ci3”. The series will offer a space where students and professionals from across campus can speak and hear about issues surrounding reproductive and sexual health, rights, and justice. This lunch talk was an informal panel with an amazingly diverse turnout with students represented from the law school, the medical school, the SSA, the GPHAP program and the College, each of whom were passionate about issues intersecting with reproductive and sexual health, rights, and justice, all interested in leveraging the university’s resources to make significant improvements in the sexual and reproductive health of their communities.
Three panelists affiliated with Ci3 led the discussion: Lee Hasselbacher, Andrea Friedman, and Angela Heimburger. Lee Hasselbacher is the Policy Coordinator for the Section of Family Planning and Contraceptive Research here at the University of Chicago. The Section advocates for policies that reduce reproductive health disparities and improve the health of families and is involved in reproductive health advocacy throughout the Midwest and is increasing its national presence. Andrea Friedman is the Senior Policy Advisor with the National Partnership for Women & Families and a consultant with Ci3. Angela Heimburger is the Executive Director of Ci3, and she, like the rest of the Ci3 team, is dedicated to helping faculty develop cutting-edge interdisciplinary research and programming to improve sexual and reproductive health globally.
During this first talk, students worked to identify issues of interest on the University of Chicago Campus in order to leverage the resources of Ci3 to better engage the student body in their research and advocacy. Several ideas for future lunch talks and advocacy were suggested, including: the need for greater information in the University community surrounding the use, availability, efficacy and safety of IUDs, the reproductive rights and sexual health of persons with physical and mental disabilities, sexual assault on and off campus and the availability of emergency contraception throughout the Chicago area, and the politics of the contraception and abortion debate, including the promotion of scientifically accurate information. We also had the opportunity to learn about Ci3’s new and innovate approach to youth sexual education through the Game Changer Chicago Design Lab, an initiative that uses game play and game design to engage youth in problem-based, collaborative learning about sexual and emotional health.
Now is an exciting time to be interested in reproductive rights and sexual health, especially as Ci3 seeks to elevate the voice of the Midwest to be an active player in the national reproductive rights debate. There’s a lot to look forward to!