Massachusetts Updates: New Partner & More

As summer comes to a close, we at Upstream have more exciting news to share with you. This month, we are welcoming a new member of our Council of Advisors and a new Health Center Partner! We are also thrilled to share that the Massachusetts Department of Health will launch a public awareness campaign about 12-month dispensing in 2022, which has come about as a direct result of the advocacy that Upstream, NARAL MA, and other reproductive health organizations jump-started at the end of 2020.

We are grateful for the continuing support for our work across the Commonwealth and the enthusiasm and commitment that our partners have for the work that we do together. We look forward to welcoming more partners throughout the rest of the year and continuing to expand access to patient-centered contraceptive care throughout the Commonwealth.

How BCHCP Used Upstream’s Patient Education Materials!

Check out this creative use for the Upstream Patient Education Materials (PEM), set up by one of our sustainability coaches at Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program!

Enid Ramos Pitcher, Nurse Manager at the Pine Street Inn Women’s Clinic site, pulled together a bulletin board display detailing birth control methods in the main patient area.

To make the board, Enid downloaded and printed the PDF one-pagers from Upstream’s “Learn about birth control” page!

Each one pager shows a picture of the method, as well as:

  • An explanation of how the method is used
  • An explanation of method effectiveness
  • Possible benefits of the method
  • Possible downsides of the method
  • These materials are also available in Spanish!

To learn more about Upstream’s Patient Education Materials, check out our Birth Control Site, or email us at

New Upstream Partner!

We are excited to welcome HealthFirst Family Care Center as our newest Upstream MA partner!

HealthFirst Family Care Center began as a Model Cities Program in 1971 in response to a need for accessible medical and dental care expressed by residents. HealthFirst is now a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), whose mission is to provide the highest quality health care to everyone in their diverse community.

HealthFirst has an existing organizational goal to offer same-day access to contraceptive care. We are excited to partner with them on the way to achieving this goal and doing our part to help improve access to excellent patient-centered care.

If you are interested in partnering with Upstream MA, please reach out to us at

New Upstream MA Council of Advisors Member!

We are thrilled to welcome Anne d’Avenas (She/Her), OB/GYN Women’s Health Program Director at Fenway Health, as our newest member of the Upstream MA Council of Advisors! Prior to joining Fenway Health in November 2019, Anne practiced OB/GYN at Mount Auburn Hospital for 35 years.

Dr. d’Avenas earned her Gender Leadership and Public Policy certificate from UMASS Boston in 2016 and completed her Fellowship in Medical Education in 2011. She served as President of the Medical Staff at Mount Auburn Hospital and was instrumental in founding and leading the “dignity for all” training program during that time.

She holds her B.A. from Williams College and her M.D. from the Boston University School of Medicine. For her residency, she trained in OB/GYN at Boston City Hospital.

Dr. d’Avenas lives in the South End with her husband, where she is on the Board of Advisors of the SpeakEasy Stage Company, and enjoys exploring the city and spending time with her children and grandchildren.

We are delighted to work with Dr. d’Avenas and learn from her expertise as we strive to ensure access to contraceptive care across the Commonwealth.

Massachusetts Budget to Include ACCESS Awareness Campaign

We are excited to share that the Massachusetts Department of Public Health has earmarked $500,000 of the 2022 budget for a public awareness campaign regarding 12-month dispensing of hormonal contraceptives.

This campaign came about as a direct result of the advocacy by Upstream, NARAL MA, and other reproductive health champions during the pandemic to raise awareness about the Contraceptive ACCESS Law and to ensure that it was being properly implemented among healthcare providers and insurers across the state.

Though the Contraceptive ACCESS Law, passed in 2017, intended to make birth control more easily accessible in the Commonwealth, only 300 women obtained a 12-month supply of birth control last year through the state’s largest insurers, even though at least 1.2 million patients are eligible.

Providing a year’s supply of birth control is an evidence-based best practice that has been shown to improve continuation of birth control use, lower out-of-pocket costs, and reduce the likelihood of unintended pregnancies.

This campaign is a big win for contraceptive access! We are thrilled to see the continued commitment to the success of the ACCESS law across the state.

PICCK Will Host Annual Meeting on September 18

PICCK will host their Second Annual Meeting on Saturday, September 18, 2021. They have planned exciting, fast-paced, 30 minute sessions from speakers across the country on topics such as new evidence of hormonal IUD as emergency contraception, contraceptive coercion after abortion, and more.

The Keynote Address on Reproductive Justice and Human Rights will be delivered by Loretta J. Ross, Professor at Smith College, co-founder of SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, and co-author of three books on reproductive justice, including the seminal Reproductive Justice: An Introduction.

For more information, check out their website. We hope to see you there!

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