The University of Texas at Austin Co-op generously sponsors research awards each year including the Best Research Paper Award. The awards are administered by The University of Texas at Austin Office of the Vice President of Research. The Best Research Paper Award is given to a nominee who was the principal or sole author of a peer-reviewed scholarly paper reporting original research that was published during the calendar year in recognized research outlets in his or her field of study.
CHASP faculty fellow and LBJ School of Public Affairs policy professor Abigail Aiken, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D. received the Best Research Paper Award 2016-2017 for her highly recognized paper published in The New England Journal of Medicine, Requests for Abortion in Latin America Related to Concern about Zika Virus Exposure.
Dr. Aiken’s research focuses on reproductive health and spans several disciplines, combining backgrounds in biomedical sciences, public policy, demography and public health. Her current projects include: examining women’s experiences obtaining self-sourced abortion in contexts where legislative barriers prevent access to safe, legal abortion through the health care system; evaluating programs and policies designed to increase access to contraception in the postpartum and postabortion setting; and investigating the determinants and impacts of unintended pregnancies through a health equity and reproductive justice framework. Dr. Aiken received her M.D. from the University of Cambridge, M.P.H. from Harvard, and Ph.D. in Public Policy from The University of Texas at Austin.
The University Co-op award ceremony was October 18, 2017.
View past recipients of Best Research Paper Award.
On Wednesday, October 11, 2017 at 8:00am Central Standard Time (2:00pm Dublin time), CHASP Faculty Fellow and The LBJ School of Public Affairs professor Dr. Abigail Aiken appeared before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment of the Irish Constitution, the Irish Parliamentary Committee responsible for deciding the scope of the referendum to legalize abortion in Ireland, which is slated to take place in 2018.
- Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment of the Irish Constitution: ow.ly/xUll30fG6fE.
- Meeting live stream: ow.ly/bvvf30fG5Df.
- Newest paper: Barriers to accessing abortion services and perspectives on using mifepristone and misoprostol at home in Great Britain (Contraception, September 2017)
- Dr. Abigail Aiken LBJ School of Public Affairs faculty profile: ow.ly/rrAL30fG5IF
- News about Dr. Abigail Aiken: chasp.lbj.utexas.edu/tag/aiken
- Between the Lines with Sarah McInerne: Radio interview with Dr. Abigail Aiken (~20 minutes in)
- The Times: Desperate women ‘using coat hangers’ to abort pregnancies
- The Irish Times: Legal uncertainties surround abortion law options, committee warned
- The Irish Times: Rhona Mahony: Eighth Amendment creates ‘unacceptable clinical risk’
- Irish Examiner: Doctor warns Irish women travelling to the UK for abortion could be blocked by Brexit
- Independent House: ‘We’ve had a woman die on her way back from a termination’ – Professor Fergal Malone
- Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ): Online demand for abortion pills tripled between 2010-16
- Hot Press: Master of Rotunda Hospital: We’re not caring for women in the way we should
- SHEmazing: 8th Amendment committee: Woman died on flight home from abortion
LBJ School of Public Affairs professor and CHASP faculty fellow Dr. Abigail Aiken studied women in England, Scotland, and Wales who requested at-home medication abortion through online telemedicine initiative Women on Web (WoW).
She and her colleagues examined the characteristics and circumstances of these women and published the findings in new paper, Barriers to accessing abortion services and perspectives on using mifepristone and misoprostol at home in Great Britain in the peer-reviewed journal, Contraception. See below for full abstract.
- BuzzFeed – Women In Britain Say They Are Are Turning To Illegal Home Abortions Because They Can’t Get To Clinics
- The Independent – Women seeking abortions in UK outside formal healthcare system due to ‘insurmountable’ barriers, finds research
- The Guardian – Make access to abortion easier, UK’s top gynaecologist demands
- 10/11/17: Dr. Abigail Aiken to Appear Before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment of the Irish Constitution
- Contraception Accepted Manuscript/Commentary: Self-Sourced Online and Self-Directed at Home: A New Frontier for Abortion in the United States (PDF)
Barriers to accessing abortion services and perspectives on using mifepristone and misoprostol at home in Great Britain
Contraception (September 2017)
To examine reasons for seeking abortion services outside the formal healthcare system in Great Britain, where abortion is legally available.
We conducted a mixed-methods study among women resident in England, Scotland, and Wales who requested at-home medication abortion through online telemedicine initiative Women on Web (WoW) between November 22nd 2016 and March 22nd 2017. We examined the demographics and circumstances of all women requesting early medication abortion and conducted a content analysis of a sample of their anonymized emails to the service to explore their reasons for seeking help.
Over a 4-month period, 519 women contacted WoW seeking medication abortion. These women were diverse with respect to age, parity, and circumstance. 180 women reported 209 reasons for seeking abortion outside the formal healthcare setting. Among all reasons, 49% were access barriers, including long waiting times, distance to clinic, work or childcare commitments, lack of eligibility for free NHS services, and prior negative experiences of abortion care; 30% were privacy concerns, including lack of confidentiality of services, perceived or experienced stigma, and preferring the privacy and comfort of using pills at home; and 18% were controlling circumstances, including partner violence and partner/family control.
Despite the presence of abortion services in Great Britain, a diverse group of women still experiences logistical and personal barriers to accessing care through the formal healthcare system, or prefer the privacy of conducting their abortions in their own homes. Health services commissioning bodies could address existing barriers if supported by policy frameworks.
The presence of multiple barriers to accessing abortion care in Great Britain highlights the need for future guidelines to recommend a more woman-centered approach to service provision. Reducing the number of clinic visits and designing services to meet the needs of those living in controlling circumstances are particularly important goals.
Medical abortion using online telemedicine and self-administered medication can be highly effective with low rates of adverse events according to new research from Abigail Aiken, an assistant professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin.
The Population Association of America (PAA) is the leading professional association for scholars, demographers, sociologists, economists, public health professionals, and others in population research and education. Several faculty fellows from the LBJ School of Public Affairs’ Center for Health and Social Policy are presenting their most recent research at this year’s PAA Annual Meeting in Chicago:
- Dr. Abigail Aikens will be leading discussions on “Race, Ethnic and Social Class Differences in Reproductive Health and Fertility” (4/27/17, 1:00pm) and Fertility Intentions: Causes and Consequences” (4/28/17, 8:30am) and supporting discussions on “Abortion in the Global North” (4/28/17, 10:15am) and the “Impact of Reproductive Health Policy in the United States” (4/28/17, 1:00pm).
- Dr. Jacqueline Angel will be leading a discussion on the “Dynamics of Disability in the Developing World” (4/27/17, 1:00pm) and presenting during a poster session on “Household Extension and Life Expectancy: Estimates of Duration of Dependency” (4/29/17, 9:00am).
- Dr. Cynthia Osborne will be presenting during a poster session on “The Dynamics of Childcare Instability” (4/28/17, 2:45pm) and leading discussions on “Families and Economic Circumstances” (4/29/17, 9:00am) and “Fatherhood in Complex Families” (4/29/17, 12:30pm).
Each year, the LBJ School of Public Affairs recognizes its distinguished scholars and the contributions to their fields through their published works at Innovation Bound.
CHASP is honored to have several affiliated faculty whose work is being celebrated at this year’s event on February 8, 2017:
Requests for abortion in Latin America related to concern about Zika virus exposure, by Abigail Aiken
Published in The New England Journal of Medicine
LBJ Professor Abigail Aiken examined abortion requests in 19 Latin American countries, finding requests for abortions increased significantly in countries that issued warnings to pregnant women about complications associated with Zika virus infection. View the press release.
Lookin’ for beds in all the wrong places: Outpatient competency restoration as a promising approach to modern challenges, byLynda E. Frost
Published in Psychology, Public Policy and Law
In response to consistently increasing numbers of individuals found incompetent to stand trial, many states have identified alternatives to inpatient restoration. LBJ Professor Lynda Frost captures national data on community-based or “outpatient” competency restoration programs, finding these programs to be promising in terms of high restoration rates, low program failure rates and substantial cost savings.
Home visiting programs: Four evidence-based lessons for policymakers, by Cynthia Osborne
Published in Behavioral Science & Policy
Home visiting programs aim to help low-income parents enhance their parenting skills and improve a host of early health and developmental outcomes for young children. Dr. Cynthia Osborne, LBJ School Professor and Director of the Center for Health and Social Policy, is conducting an ongoing program implementation evaluation to provide policymakers with a greater understanding of how home visiting programs are associated with better outcomes for families, and will provide valuable information to other states that are interested in implementing a similar program.
CHASP faculty fellow and LBJ School associate professor Dr. Abigail Aiken has accepted a joint appointment to the nine-member Central Health Board of Managers. This all-volunteer board is composed of four appointees from the Austin City Council, four appointees from the Travis County Commissioners Court and one joint appointee. Aiken was approved by the Travis County Commissioners Court on December 6 and by the Austin City Council on December 15.
In an interview for the position late last month, Aiken said, “I feel really strongly that as a professor of public affairs, if you have those skills and you can share them with people in the community, you should do that, and that’s why I would really welcome the opportunity.” Aiken’s background is extensive and interdisciplinary with experience in clinical medicine, public health, demography, and public affairs.
Originally from Ireland, Aiken earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Cambridge, her medical doctorate from the University of Cambridge, her master’s in public health from Harvard University and her doctorate in public policy from the University of Texas at Austin. She also worked as a postdoctoral research associate at the Office of Population Research and a lecturer in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs at Princeton University.
Aiken’s research interests are focused on reproductive health and span several disciplines, combining backgrounds in biomedical science, demography, public health, and public policy. Her work has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, American Journal of Public Health, Social Science and Medicine, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, and Obstetrics and Gynecology, among others.
Learn more about Aiken’s joint appointment to the Central Health Board of Managers.
- Community Impact: Abigail Aiken confirmed Thursday to Central Health board
Abigail Aiken is currently a postdoctoral research associate at the Office of Population Research at Princeton University. During the Fall 2014 semester, she was also a lecturer at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. In Fall 2016, she will join the LBJ School as Assistant Professor of Public Affairs and new CHASP faculty associate.
Aiken’s research focuses on reproductive health and spans several disciplines, combining backgrounds in biomedical sciences, public policy, demography, public health. Her current projects include: examining women’s experiences obtaining safe abortion in contexts where legislative barriers prevent access through the healthcare system; evaluating programs and policies designed to increase access to contraception in the postpartum and post-abortion setting; and investigating the determinants and impacts of unintended pregnancies through a health equity and reproductive justice framework.
Aiken’s work has recently been published in the American Journal of Public Health, Social Science and Medicine, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Contraception, and the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, among others. Her research has also been supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Society of Family Planning.
Most recently her paper, Factors Influencing the Likelihood of Instrumental Delivery Success, was cited by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in Practice Bulletin 154 and named one of the top 5 articles in labor and delivery in 2014 by Obstetrics & Gynecology.
In March 2016, Aiken will serve as a social science expert on abortion on the amicus brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the case Whole Women’s Health versus Cole.