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In Their Own Voices: Low-income Women and Their Health Providers in Three Communities Talk about Access to Care, Reproductive Health, and Immigration

This report is based on focus groups that the Kaiser Family Foundation and Perry Undem Research/Communication conducted in three cities, San Francisco, Tucson, and Atlanta, between October and December 2018. In each city, one focus group was conducted with low-income women between the ages of 18 and 44 in Spanish, one in English, and one group was held with area providers, policy makers, and women’s health advocates. The providers included clinicians and administrators from federally qualified health centers, freestanding family planning clinics (some of which also provide abortion), domestic violence shelters, county health departments, immigrant services organizations, and other social service agencies. In total, we interviewed 54 women of reproductive age, 26 in Spanish and 28 in English, as well as 23 providers/policy makers/women’s health advocates (Table 3).

While all groups were recorded by audio for preparation of this report, all participants were guaranteed anonymity. Thus, none of the participants are identified in this report. Staff from Perry Undem Research/Communication moderated all of the groups and worked with local recruiters to find participants for the women’s groups. The focus groups with women in San Francisco and Tucson were held in community-based organizations, who also assisted with recruitment of participants. The groups in Atlanta were held in a professional focus group facility, and staff from this facility led recruitment efforts. Staff from KFF and Perry Undem identified all of the provider participants, focusing on local organizations in each city that serve low-income women, including at independent family planning clinics, abortion clinics, health departments, domestic violence shelters. All groups lasted between 90 and 120 minutes. Each woman was paid $200 for her time and participation, and each provider received a monetary donation of $250 to an organization of their choice. The authors thank all the participants for their candor and insights.

Table 3: Focus Group Participants

San Francisco, CA

Tucson, AZ

Atlanta, GA

October 29, 2018
11 women in Spanish Group
10 women in English Group

October 30, 2018
4 providers in Focus Groups

Additional calls with providers on November 13, 2018
November 14, 2018
November 19, 2018

November 29, 2018
7 women in Spanish Group
10 women in English Group

November 30, 2018
5 providers in Focus Group

Additional calls with providers on
December 7, 2018
December 13, 2018 (2 calls)

December 10, 2018
8 women in Spanish Group
8 women in English Group

December 11, 2018
8 providers in Focus Group

Conclusion