Global WACh

February 3, 2020

Predoctoral Research Fellow, Claire Rothschild, receives NICHD fellowship award focused on women’s reproductive health in Kenya

Claire Rothschild, a third-year doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology, received a National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) F31 pre-doctoral fellowship to support her dissertation research on using mobile technology to improve family planning data and outcomes in Kenya.  In collaboration with PATH-Kenya and Kenyatta National Hospital, Claire’s research focuses on better understanding when and why women discontinue and switch methods of contraception, with the specific goal of identifying factors that predict dissatisfaction and early discontinuation of contraceptive methods among women who do not wish to become pregnant.

Since starting the PhD program in Fall 2017, Claire has worked under the mentorship of Dr. Alison Drake (Faculty co-Director of Global WACh’s Family Planning Decision Support priority area) to explore how mobile phones are used to understand Kenyan women’s experience using contraceptive methods over time. As a Research Assistant, Claire supported Dr. Drake’s “Mobile Data Collection of Contraceptive Use, Behaviors, and Experiences (mCUBE)” study that employed an innovative approach to collect participants’ responses in real-time through short message system (SMS) questionnaires sent directly to their own mobile phones.  This method allowed for frequent assessments of women’s experiences and satisfaction with their contraceptive methods.  Dr. Drake, Claire, and the study team with PATH-Kenya aimed to understand patterns of side effects and method switching and to identify determinants of risk of discontinuation. Contraceptive discontinuation contributes to unplanned pregnancy and unwanted births, as well as increased maternal, neonatal and infant morbidity and mortality.  The novel data collected from this cohort can help to inform interventions that identify and support women as they start, switch, and stop using contraception.

Claire spoke at Global WACh’s family-planning themed “Next Big Thing” event in May 2019 at the University of Washington.  The event showcased emerging expertise and partnerships in family planning efforts and advancements.

“Supporting women to achieve their reproductive goals is a critical priority for reproductive justice. It is also essential for reducing preventable morbidity and mortality that arises from unintended and mistimed pregnancies,” says Claire.  The two-year F31 fellowship will allow Claire to focus on identifying predictors of contraceptive dissatisfaction and early discontinuation, which includes exploring the quality of family planning services that women receive, and how that quality of care may influence subsequent satisfaction and adherence to a specific contraceptive method.  She will also explore women’s experience of contraceptive side effects and their relationship to dissatisfaction and discontinuation.

Claire ultimately hopes that the results of these analyses can inform interventions to more effectively support women who wish to prevent or delay pregnancy but are facing challenges using contraception.  We congratulate Claire for her award and look forward to learning the results in the near future.