Emergency contraception education for health and human service professionals: An evaluation of knowledge and attitudes

Health Education Journal, Vol. 69, No. 2, 175-182 | June 1, 2010

Lisa Colarossi

Planned Parenthood of New York City, New York, NY, USA, lisa.colarossi@ppnyc.org

Marissa Billowitz

Planned Parenthood of New York City, New York, NY, USA

Vicki Breitbart

Planned Parenthood of New York City, New York, NY, USA

Objective: To assess the knowledge and attitudes of health care providers, health educators, and social service providers before and after a training session on emergency contraceptive pills.

Design: A survey study using pre—post training measurements.

Setting: Two hundred and twenty-three medical, social service, and health education providers in receiving a 2.5-hour training session at their work site.

Methods: Human subjects approval was obtained from an Internal Review Board. Anonymous surveys were administered a few weeks prior to the training session and at completion of the training session. The training programme was free and not conditional on survey completion. No incentives were offered for research participation.

Results: A single training session was associated with increased knowledge about the timing, efficacy, and safety of emergency contraceptive pills as well as with more positive attitudes about use of emergency contraceptive pills. This was true for health care workers, health educators, and social service providers. Social service providers had the least amount of knowledge prior to the training session, but had the same amount of knowledge as the other two groups after the training session. Social service providers also had the least positive attitudes about emergency contraception before and after the training session, when compared with the other two groups; however, positive attitudes of social service workers did significantly increase after the training session, which resulted in smaller differences between the groups at post-test. Conclusion: Among other educational and motivational tools to increase use of emergency contraception, training of human service professionals can increase the knowledge and attitudes necessary for informing their numerous clients about how to access emergency contraceptive pills as well as their safety and efficacy.


Key Words: emergency contraception • reproductive health • education • evaluation


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