Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington (PPMW) is the oldest and largest provider of family planning services in Metropolitan Washington, providing medical services to more than 27,000 residents of the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Northern Virginia, in more than 38,000 visits annually.
Everyday, we uphold a woman’s right to choose by simply keeping our doors open and ensuring patient access to reproductive health care. Ensuring the availability of clinic services, however, is not enough to redress the disproportionate impact of racial, cultural, economic, and geographic barriers that impede access to family planning and undermine public health. To address these disparities, PPMW’s Community Education and Outreach Program reaches more than 40,000 individuals each year through culturally and linguistically appropriate prevention-based educational programs, workshops, and community events. We serve our community by positioning family planning, in all of its complexities, on a continuum of comprehensive services that demonstrably improve the lives of the people we reach and directly impact the well-being of our target regions.
Our core programs include:
A. Medical and Family Planning Services: PPMW remains firm in our resolve to ensure access to reproductive health care and education so that our patients have the resources to be sexually and socially responsible. Providing these services – family planning; gynecological care; STI/HIV testing; screening for HPV, cervical, breast and testicular cancer; pregnancy testing; and abortion services – will prevent unintended pregnancy; reduce social costs; and create stronger families, healthier children, a stronger society, and better quality of life for all.
B. Expanding our Teen Pregnancy and STI/HIV Prevention Program: To deepen our impact, PPMW provides critical community education and outreach that complements medical programs and change risky sexual behaviors, especially among teens and young adults. Our work is collaborative, and we refer teens to other community agencies as appropriate. Our comprehensive strategies also include engaging parents and helping them access the resources they need to build strong, healthy families.
C. Developing the Next Generation of Health Advocates: Adolescent peer relationships are key influences on the health behavior of youth, and youth peer-led programs are fundamental to fighting high teen pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and STI rates. Youth peer leaders and the teens we reach through our services learn about reproductive health-related issues, but they also develop useful life and career skills, including negotiation skills, public speaking, and facilitating group dialogue.
D. Community Education and Outreach: Our trained Youth Health Messengers lead and/or assist our education staff in providing community educational forums not only for teens, but also for parents, the general public, national and local policymakers. Through our Ophelia Egypt Program Center and Abriendo Caminos (Opening Pathways) Program, PPMW emphasizes the medical aspects of our work, and uses family planning and reproductive health as a foundation for strengthening families and communities.
E. Communications and Media: PPMW is organizing a youth-led public education campaign to educate, inform and engage the public and media in constructive dialogue on prevention-focused issues, especially HIV/AIDS and raising awareness about emergency contraception and its use.