Elizabeth Futrell

2017 Winner

Position: Founding Member & Lead Interviewer, FP Voices; Content Development Lead, K4Health
Organization: Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs
Current Location: United States, North America

MSPH from UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health

Additional Degrees and Certifications:
• Certificate in Global Health

Awards Received:

St. Vincent DePaul Senior Leadership Award
Awarding Organization:
DePaul University
Date Awarded:
June 14, 2001

Elected to Theta Chapter of Delta Omega
Awarding Organization:
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Date Awarded:
May 1, 2010

Extra Mile Award
Awarding Organization:
The Staubach Company
Date Awarded:
July 1, 2007

Elizabeth Futrell, MSPH, joined the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs in 2011 as a Technical Writer for the Knowledge for Health (K4Health) Project. Currently the Content Development Lead for K4Health, Liz cofounded Family Planning Voices, a global storytelling initiative in support of contraceptive access, led by K4Health in partnership with Family Planning 2020. Prior to this, Liz worked at FHI 360 while studying Health Policy and Management at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. She has been a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco, a language instructor in Japan and a high school English teacher in the U.S. She is currently based in Chicago, where she is an active member of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and a founding member of I Ate the Spider, a collaborative writing and storytelling project that hosts quarterly live events. One of her short pieces was recently published in an anthology of women’s stories titled Roar: True Tales of Women Warriors, all proceeds of which benefit the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

“A founding member of FP Voices, Elizabeth elevates the stories of hundreds of providers, clients, advocates, donors, and implementers, giving them visibility on a global platform, inspiring them, advocating, and teaching storytelling practices.

– David Alexander, Photoshare Manager at The Knowledge for Health (K4Health) Project at Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs

Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

Since conceptualizing and co-founding FP Voices, I’ve interviewed more than 150 passionate FP stakeholders whose voices need to be heard, helped craft and publish hundreds more stories, and given storytelling workshops around the world. K4Health and FP2020 created FP Voices in partnership with the Gates Institute to shed light on the human stories behind the data, to strengthen storytelling capacity among FP organizations, and to to drive momentum and foster community around the FP movement. A K4Health-led evaluation of FP Voices indicates that the initiative is positively impacting family planning knowledge, attitudes, self-efficacy, and knowledge application among our global community. That FP Voices stories will be displayed at the London Summit in July is a testament to their value.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

When I was in 10th grade, 9 of my classmates were pregnant. Only later when I became a mother myself did I begin to understand just how many challenges teen parents face. Giving girls, women, and couples the power to decide whether, when, and how often to become pregnant helps them chart the course of their own lives and their children’s. Contraception is a simple, low-cost preventative measure that can unlock health, education, economic opportunity, peace, and more. Everyone deserves access.

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

Under my leadership, FP Voices has grown from an idea into a global initiative. Since 2015, we’ve provided a platform for more than 400 family planning clients, providers, donors, advocates, and implementers from over 50 countries to tell their stories in their own words–and our work is far from done. I’ve also led the writing for essential K4Health tools like our video, “Family Planning: A Key to Unlocking the SDGs” which was shown at ICFP in 2016 and has been translated into 4 languages.

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?

I will use the 120 Under 40 platform to expand FP Voices’ collection and its reach by documenting and sharing the stories of the 120 Under 40 winners and by sharing FP Voices’ content, tools, and activities–including our research on the impact of storytelling–with the 120 Under 40 audience. The $1,000 would help us expand our capacity-strengthening activities to reach some of our most important stakeholders—youth—with in-person or virtual storytelling guidance, tools, and opportunities.

Photos of the nominee in the field/at work





Roar: True Tales of Women Warriors