October 2018 Power Player
Here at Power to Decide, we are committed to uplifting the many individuals who are on the ground doing the work that matters most. Each month we highlight an individual or organization who is championing the effort to give young people the power to decide if, when, and under what circumstances to get pregnant and have a child. Check out this month's Power Player profile.
Diana E Ramos, MD, MPH
Public Health Medical Officer, California Department of Public Health
What work have you done to ensure that young people have access to high-quality sexual health information or high-quality contraceptive services so that they can decide if, when, and under what circumstances to get pregnant and have a child?
I led the development and implementation of La FAMILIA, a free preconception health text messaging program. The areas of focus are contraception, including a link to Bedsider’s clinic locater; healthy living tips focusing on healthy eating and being physically active; mental health; and sexually transmitted infections.
How did you get started in your field? What is your driving force?
I received my medical degree from the University of Southern California and completed my residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Los Angeles-County USC. I went on to get my master’s in public health from UCLA. Soon after, I began working at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health as the Director for Reproductive Health. I also continued as faculty at the Keck University of Southern California School of Medicine Department of obstetrics and gynecology.
Clinical practice and public health give me a unique perspective to understand the priorities and limitations that face operationalizing reproductive health priorities.
What advice would you give to someone looking to effect change in the field that you currently work in?
Identify the issue you want to focus on and surround yourself with stakeholders from diverse backgrounds and experience. Together you will accomplish more and do it in a novel way.
Why should someone care about ensuring that all people—regardless of who they are or where they live—have access to the information and contraception they need to live their best life story?
Being in control of one’s reproductive health will help women stay on a trajectory that can lead them to education, a job, and the power to decide how they want to live their lives. Effective contraception will help them plan.
Is there a highlight of your work in conjunction with our organization that you’d like to share?
The FAMILIA text messaging program is a wonderful resource. The California Department of Public health website has resources and programs for adolescents as well as reproductive age men and women.
*Responses have been edited for clarity