AS OF OCTOBER 2020
WOMEN HAVE RECEIVED FREE BIRTH CONTROL THROUGH A STEP AHEAD CHATTANOOGA
In 2018, leadership, in partnership with funding from the Benwood Foundation, contracted RTI International, a nonprofit research institute, to conduct an independent evaluation to assess the impacts and potential expansion of services throughout southeastern Tennessee. Below is a summary of their findings.
KEY CLIENT DEMOGRAPHICS
Ongoing education about long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) is needed. Misinformation about LARCs, particularly their safety, efficacy, and side effects, was common among women in focus groups and frequently cited by providers. Continued community and practice-based education is essential to combat misconceptions, and peer-based education may provide added value.
“The education A Step Ahead Chattanooga provides and information they give to our residents is vital, not just for them as individuals, but also for their families and their community. Unfortunately, they rarely are provided this information anywhere else other than the JDC.”
– Bill Weaver, Vocational Education Specialist, Hamilton County Juvenile Court Detention Center
Clients cited personal, professional, and financial benefits of ASAC funding. Clients describe the organization’s services as life-changing, allowing them to pursue academic, professional, and family goals. Focus groups highlighted that without ASAC assistance, many clients would have been unable to afford their LARCs.
“As a single, working-mother, I know how hard it is both financially and emotionally to raise a child alone. I get by, but I can’t picture how I would juggle it all with a second child. Even though I have health insurance, long-lasting, effective birth control is still so expensive, and the red tape of the healthcare system is often so difficult to navigate. I am so thankful to A Step Ahead Chattanooga for eliminating the cost and anxiety by providing free and simple access to the birth control that best fits my lifestyle.”
– A Step Ahead client
“I cannot say enough about how positive my experience was with A Step Ahead. From the initial phone call to scheduling my appointment, to the friendliness and knowledge of the medical staff, I was absolutely blown away. What an incredible organization. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!!
– A Step Ahead client
Local and national philanthropic organizations agree that ASAC fills a gap in the community. Donors cited strong leadership, commitment to client autonomy, and vision as reasons for continued giving.
“I just think [A Step Ahead] makes a whole lot of sense. Some people immediately couch it in the pro-choice/pro-life arena, but we don’t really see it that way. We see it as, it’s putting on sunscreen so you don’t get sunburned.”
– Chattanooga Philanthropic Foundation
ASAC enables providers to provide whole-person care without regard to cost. ASAC funding allows health care providers to objectively counsel patients on all birth control options and help patients find the method that fits their needs, with less concern about ability to afford certain methods.
“Having been in Chattanooga for almost the last four years, it has been incredible to see A Step Ahead just knocking down so many barriers for access to care for women, especially due to the affordability aspect.”
– ASAC medical provider