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Beth Sundstrom

75 Public Votes Reached!
Beth Sundstrom - 2017 Nominee
Position: Director/ Assistant Professor
Organization: Women's Health Research Team/ College of Charleston
Current Location: United States, North America
Ph.D. from University of Maryland, College Park
Additional Degrees and Certifications:
Master of Public Health (M.P.H.), Brown University
Awards Received:
  • Award:
    Charleston's 50 Most Progressive
    Awarding Organization:
    Charlie Magazine
    Date Awarded:
    May 19, 2016
  • Award:
    Crescent Award, Member of the Year
    Awarding Organization:
    South Carolina Coalition for Healthy Families
    Date Awarded:
    June 9, 2015
  • Award:
    Multi-media winner, 24th Annual PHEHP Public Health Materials Contest
    Awarding Organization:
    American Public Health Association (APHA)
    Date Awarded:
    November 17, 2014
Dr. Sundstrom is masterful in both documenting the complexities and contradictions of women’s lived experiences and placing those experiences in larger contexts of and discussions about reproductive technologies, health, rights and justice. – Deborah Billings, Director at Choose Well Initiative
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

I partner with community-based organizations to conduct praxis-oriented research informing the development of public health interventions. My research reflects a reproductive justice approach, considering the social/cultural, political, and economic context that contributes to inequities based on race/ethnicity, ability, class, and sexuality. Current studies include contraceptive message testing and campaign evaluation, telehealth and contraceptive access among rural women, and contraceptive use dynamics across the lifespan in a reproductive health oral history project. To translate this research into practice, I serve on the “Better Birth Control” national expert panel (National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy) and Ibis Reproductive Health’s OCs OTC Working Group.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

By listening to women’s lived experiences, I have learned that when women control their bodies, they control their lives. My contraception research includes culture-centered health communication, which privileges the values and needs of the community. This stakeholder engagement approach contributes to building community capacity and reproductive justice. I hope that my research will foster a long-term process of social change mobilization by lifting the barriers that stifle women’s voices.

Give one or two examples of how you display leadership in your family planning work.:

As the director and co-founder of the Women’s Health Research Team, I mentor 25 faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate researchers. My leadership fosters innovation and diverse perspectives to conduct multi- and interdisciplinary research collaborations in family planning. I am committed to communicating research findings to empower women and girls in S.C. and beyond. I discussed our contraception research (#351) on Science for the People: A podcast broadcast weekly across North America.

If you are named a winner of 120 under 40, how will you use this new platform and the $1000 grant to advance your work? :

This award would advance my reproductive justice work translating research into practice, advocacy, and policy. I will leverage existing partnerships with Choose Well, Charleston County Teen Pregnancy Prevention Council, Medical University of South Carolina, and South Carolina Coalition for Healthy Families. This grant will fund two undergraduate students to attend S.C. Women’s Rights Empowerment Network’s Annual Summit to extend our telehealth research featured on SCetv (public broadcasting).

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