Ilene S. Speizer, Ph.D., Research Professor, Maternal and Child Health
Speizer undertakes research on family planning, HIV prevention, adolescent sexual and reproductive health, and unintended pregnancy prevention. Her work seeks to identify which programs are more or less successful to help inform how governments or program planners should use their finite resources. She has led research and evaluation projects in sub-Saharan Africa, India, Haiti, and the U.S.
A demographer by training, Speizer is currently undertaking research that corresponds to the Center's focus areas. One area that Speizer has contributed to demonstrates that fertility desires are multi-dimensional and that women often hold ambivalent fertility desires. She has undertaken this work in numerous contexts including India; Senegal; Kenya; Nigeria; Honduras; Indonesia; and the U.S. This work has shown that family planning needs may be overestimated because of ambivalence about future childbearing. Another of Speizer's focus areas is adolescent reproductive health. She has been a key contributor to international working groups and teams considering how to measure adolescent sexual risk-taking and approaches to evaluating programs to prevent adolescent unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. Speizer was the co-PI for the Measurement, Learning & Evaluation (MLE) Project, a multi-country evaluation of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) funded Urban Reproductive Health Initiative programs. She was also the PI for a follow-on project titled the NURHI Sustainability Study. The MLE project's data, including NURHI Sustainability Study data, provide rich information on longitudinal fertility intentions and outcomes (Speizer et al., 2020); the sustainability of program activities once donor funding ends (Speizer et al., 2019a; Speizer et al., 2019b); and the timing and circumstances of sexual behaviors of urban youth in Senegal, Kenya, and Nigeria (Speizer et al.,2013). Currently, Speizer is PI of a BMGF project titled Full Access, Full Choice that uses existing data sources to expand the evidence base on ensuring that young people have access to a full range of contraceptives globally and specifically in Kenya and Niger. Finally, Speizer has examined issues related to access to and use of maternal and child health services and disparities in use. This has been examined in various settings including Senegal, India, Nigeria, Malawi, and Ghana.
Speizer's work now focuses on extending the evaluation findings from the MLE project and examining important questions related to the sustainability of family planning and reproductive health programs in contexts where the funding ends and the demand for services remain. These are important implementation science questions where the family planning and reproductive health field has great opportunities to contribute and Speizer's prior work and data from the MLE project position her and CPC to be leaders in this area.