By Anel Ceballos, Sept. 21, 2021

Following years of effort by the Feminist Fight Club, Cal Poly Pomona’s Student Health Services is working to implement more accessible and affordable health care options for students on campus.

Guided by its R-Justice Campaign, the club has advocated for the university to become a Family Planning Access Care and Treatment provider, offer hormone replacement therapy, include student voices in its implementation of SB24 and help create a sexual education program for student organizations.

The R-Justice Campaign is a continuation of the Care on Campus Campaign, which advocates for students’ needs for reproductive and sexual healthcare. The campaign demands affordable and accessible healthcare on campus for all CPP students.

Co-chair of the Feminist Fight Club Blanca Martinez, an anthropology student, emphasized the importance of the R-Justice campaign.

“The R-Justice Campaign centers on a reproductive justice framework, which is respecting student autonomy, respecting the students’ right to have or not have children as well as informed and comprehensive services for students,” Martinez said.

The campaign is a development of the club’s efforts last year in which it authored the ASI Resolution in Support of Reproductive and Trans-Inclusive Healthcare. That resolution, passed by the ASI Board of Directors in April 2020, called for CPP to become a Family Planning Access Care and Treatment, or F-PACT, provider.

F-PACT is a California Department of Health Care Services program that provides free family planning services for low-income California residents. Currently, CPP offers birth control pills, plan B and Depo-Provera shots at a cost. If CPP were to implement F-PACT, eligible students would receive birth control pills, Plan B emergency contraception, Depo-Provera Shot and long-acting reversible contraceptives, or LARCs, such as IUD/IUC and Nexplanon arm implant, which are currently not offered at CPP, for free.

According to the Director of Student Health and Wellness Services Rita O’Neill, there is no set date yet for CPP to become a F-PACT provider as all staff must complete training within six months of the initial date of F-PACT enrollment.

“We have to get training and usually when physicians train in a new skill, they are proctored by another physician, who then watches them do several of the procedures themselves,” O’Neill said. “That has to be by a protocol and by a policy and another doctor willing to train them.”

It was expected that CPP would receive training from a physician at CSU Northridge, but the physician didn’t work during the summer.

“We also need to hire some people because there’s also a billing aspect,” O’Neill said. “So, you have to know how to bill in a Medi-Cal environment, and since we are not currently a Medi-Cal provider, we have nobody on staff who knows that skill. So, there’s some training and some hiring that we’re still going to need to do before we can actually implement the program.”

Nearby Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Los Angeles and Cal State San Bernardino are three of eight CSU campuses that are F-PACT providers. If CPP joins them, it would expand birth control options for students.

The club’s call for hormone replacement therapy, which would require all Student Health Center and Bronco Wellness Center staff to receive training to address healthcare concerns of trans students, as well as have access to both hormone therapy and sexual reassignment surgery, also has no set implementation date.

“This remains out of the scope of practice for clinicians at Student Health,” O’Neill said. “We can and do support students who are under the care of other physicians with specialized training when those students need help with self-injection of hormones.”

There is currently no psychiatrist specialized in hormone replacement therapy. The Feminist Fight Club has advocated to hire a trans-friendly psychiatrist so trans students can receive the necessary support.

Although the Bronco Wellness Center does offer some sexual health education such as one-on-one discussions about birth control options and safe sex, Shalis Danayan, peer health educator at the center, has created a sexual health program called Love Yourself, Literally, which provides more inclusive and accessible forms of sexual education. Students of all backgrounds and identities are offered a broader range of topics through free giveaways, presentations and games.

“I wanted to do information on masturbation and self-love,” Danayan said. “We understand that students engage in activities and certain things and we’re never going to tell you not to do something. We’re always going to teach you how to do something safely.”

SB 24, the College Student Right to Access Act, was a California law passed in 2019 which mandates all CSU health centers to carry the abortion pill. In preparation of the law’s implementation, required by January 2023, the club is advocating for CPP health services to offer abortion education as well as both postpartum and post-abortion therapy sessions.

“I believe that implementing these initiatives would definitely help shape the campus culture, better help students in providing them these resources and knowing that this school is here to support them, whether it be through academics, whether it be through reproductive health or just healthcare in general,” Martinez said. “The school is showing that they care for their students through implementing different programs and resources.”

 

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