2019 Reproductive Health Mini-Sabbatical Grants

Pictured above (left to right): Drs. David Abel and Leilah Zahedi-Spung have been selected as the inaugural recipients of the 2019 Reproductive Health Mini-Sabbatical Grants.

Dr. David Abel will receive four weeks of clinical training in advanced abortion procedures, mentored by faculty in the Division of Family Planning at the University of California, Davis, directed by Dr. Mitchell Creinin. Dr. Abel is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at the University of California San Francisco-Fresno. He will use the mini-sabbatical training to provide services to primarily low-income women with limited resources in the community where he works and to establish formal abortion training in the residency program at his institution. Throughout his medical career of more than 25 years, Dr. Abel has been an advocate for women’s reproductive health rights.

Dr. Leilah Zahedi-Spung is a 2019 Reproductive Health Mini-Sabbatical Award recipient. Dr. Zahedi-Spung will conduct a research project, “Missouri’s abortion law: Access to care for patients with lethal fetal anomalies at a Midwest tertiary care center.” Dr. Zahedi-Spung is a second-year MFM Fellow in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Washington University School of Medicine. Through her mini-sabbatical, she will perform statistical analyses and geocoding for an observational study, develop an impactful advocacy tool for reproductive rights, and receive formal training in healthcare reform and policy. This experience will allow her to further develop her interests in the intersection between MFM and Family Planning.


These grants are one component of the Reproductive Health Project for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, an initiative with the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) to integrate family planning and reproductive health care services into maternal-fetal medicine subspecialist practice to reduce the rate of maternal morbidity and mortality among high-risk women in the United States.

Learn more about the Reproductive Health Mini-Sabbatical Grants here.