When you hear the words ‘reproductive health’ what do you think of?

Some may think of pregnancy, others the prevention of pregnancy. Maybe you think about the risk of HPV and cervical cancer, or the choice to decide your reproductive future. These are among the most important facets of reproductive health for both men and women. However reproductive health has much broader implications, and achieving optimal reproductive health can be challenging in many parts of the world.

Pregnancy, contraception, safe motherhood, cervical cancer prevention, fertility goals, abortion, and gender-based violence are all facets of reproductive health that impact women throughout their lifespan.  Access to education and youth-friendly health services help young women navigate the transition through adolescence to educational and economic empowerment while avoiding early pregnancy and exposure to STIs and HIV.  Economic empowerment and respectful prenatal care ensure that women have a greater chance of deciding when to reproduce and doing so safely.  Strengthening and streamlining health care infrastructure through innovative and cost-effective strategies is a key component of reproductive health throughout the life course.  Finally, policy and financing decisions can have a large impact on the ability to achieve reproductive health.  Gaps in any of these areas prevent the attainment of full reproductive health for women around the world.

So why are we here? While Duke researchers, students, and staff have been working on issues related to reproductive health for many years, we are starting an initiative to highlight this work and encourage deeper conversation and increased collaborations throughout Duke and the Triangle area. The launch of this website marks an important step for DGHI in highlighting the importance of reproductive health research and collaboration. We hope you will visit often to join the conversation, come to events, and utilize the resources found here. We look forward to advancing reproductive health outcomes globally and locally through the efforts of our faculty, students, trainees and partners.

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