Obstetrics and Gynecology and Family Medicine Residents' Training and Knowledge on Emergency Contraception

Rachel Becker Rapkin, Stacey B. Griner, Cheryl L. Godcharles, Cheryl A. Vamos, Malinee Neelamegam, Erika L. Thompson, Ellen M. Daley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Emergency contraception (EC) has the potential to play a vital role in preventing unintended pregnancies after unprotected sexual intercourse or contraceptive failure. Residency training can influence practice behaviors, however, the extent to which EC-related information is taught in training programs remains unknown. This study examined where residents obtain information about EC and whether knowledge differs by resident program characteristics. Materials and Methods: Program coordinators of Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN) and Family Medicine residency programs (n = 689) were emailed and requested to forward the survey link to residents. The survey included measures of EC education (hours, sources, including lectures, grand rounds), and EC-related knowledge. EC knowledge items assessed the three methods of EC (copper intrauterine device, ulipristal acetate, and oral levonorgestrel), effectiveness, mechanism of action, contraindications, and side effects. t-Tests and analysis of variances were used to compare mean knowledge scores (maximum = 20; higher scores indicating higher knowledge). Results: Among participants (n = 676), 61% were Family Medicine residents, 66% were white, and 72% were female. Overall, 34% received <1 hour of EC education, with OB/GYN residents receiving significantly more hours than Family Medicine residents. OB/GYN residents (mean = 14.40, standard deviation [SD] = 2.69) had a significantly higher mean knowledge score than Family Medicine residents (12.12, SD = 2.63; p < 0.000). Mean knowledge score differences were found by region of residency program, with residents in the Northeast reporting higher knowledge. Conclusions: Overall, residents received very little EC education, with OB/GYN residents receiving more training and having higher knowledge than their Family Medicine counterparts. Additional training is needed to ensure that residents are knowledgeable about this effective method to decrease unintended pregnancies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)794-801
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2019


  • emergency contraception
  • intrauterine contraception
  • resident education


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