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Laura Jacobson, PhD candidate in Health System and Policy

OHSU PSU School of Public Health Graduate Student Laura Jacobson

Graduate Spotlight: Laura Jacobson

Laura Jacobson is a PhD candidate in Health System and Policy. Laura’s dissertation examines abortion quality of care, focusing on differences in experiences, client follow-up care-seeking behavior, and provider referral practices in facility-based versus self-managed abortion care across eight countries.

Integrating Facility-based Abortion and Self-Managed Abortion

One of her dissertation papers, recently published in BMJ Sexual and Reproductive Health, was the first study to use a novel, validated set of abortion quality of care indicators, the ACQTool. A key innovation of this study is that it encompasses abortion access overall: integrating both facility-based abortion and self-managed abortion to allow for comparison across modalities.

This work pushes the health system boundaries and expands how we conceptualize and measure quality of care outside of traditional health system facilities. Satisfaction is often used as a proxy for measuring patient experiences in health care settings. Satisfaction falls short when assessing abortion care because abortion is highly stigmatized, it is time sensitive, and when someone gets an abortion they often feel relief and tend to report high satisfaction. This doesn’t tell us much about the content of the care delivered or their experience. Laura’s work attempts to measure quality in a systematic way to identify what is driving a person’s experience– to move us beyond satisfaction— and provide a more nuanced approach to measuring quality.

Laura also supports abortion research activities at the OHSU Division of Complex Family Planning, Ibis Reproductive Health, and the World Health Organization. This year, Laura received a dissertation fellowship from the American Association of University women. Laura will graduate with her doctorate degree in June.

If you would like to read more of Laura Jacobson’s research, you can find them on her Google Scholars page.