Dr. Wendy Chavkin is a physician with clinical training in obstetrics gynecology and board certified in public health and preventative medicine. She has concentrated on policy research and advocacy regarding reproductive health and women’s rights to full participation in society. She is co-founder of Global Doctors for Choice and previously served as a co-founder and Chair of the Board of Directors of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health. From 2004 to 2005 she was a Fulbright New Century Scholar for her research on Fertility Decline and the Empowerment of Women, from 1994 to 2002 she was editor-in-chief of The Journal of the American Medical Women's Association, and from 1984 to 1988, the director of The Bureau of Maternity Services and Family Planning in New York City's Department of Health. She has conducted research and written extensively about reproductive health issues, including abortion, conscientious objection to providing reproductive health care, globalized motherhood and policy responses to declining birthrates, the consequences of welfare reform for the health of women and children, HIV and illegal drug use in pregnancy. She has received numerous awards from public health organizations for advocacy including the Jean Pakter and Allan Rosenfield awards.
- Special Lecturer in Population and Family Health
Credentials & Experience
Education & Training
- BA, 1973 University of Michigan
- MD, 1978 SUNY
- MPH, 1981 Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health
Committees, Societies, Councils
Director, Soros Reproductive Health and Rights Fellowship
Society for Family Planning
Diplomate, Board of Preventive Medicine
American Medical Women’s Association
American Public Health Association
Association of Teachers of Preventive Medicine
Association of Teachers of Maternal-Child Health
New York Academy of Medicine
New York Academy of Science
Public Health Association of New York City
Physicians for Reproductive Choice
Health Executive Board
Editor-in-Chief, Journal of American Medical Women's Association, 1994-2002
Contributing Editor, Topics of Our Times, American Journal of Public Health, 1996-1999
Associate Editor, American Journal of Public Health, 1999-2003
Honors & Awards
Jean Pakter Award for Commitment to the Underserved, Public Health Association of New York City, 2013
Women’s Health Hero, Our Bodies, Ourselves, 2010
Felicia Stewart Award for Advocacy and Activism, American Public Health Association, 2007
Fulbright New Century Scholars Program, 2004
Bertha Van Hoosen Award, American Medical Women’s Association, 2003
President’s Award, American Medical Women’s Association, 2002
Research Fellow, Rockefeller Foundation, New York, "The social construction of conflict between mother and fetus, and its impact on the health of poor women", 1988-1989
EEO Award, New York City Department of Health, 1987
American Health Magazine Book Award, "Double Exposure: Women's Health Hazards on the Job and at Home", 1984
Allan Rosenfield Award for Public Health and Social Justice, Public Health Association of New York City, 2009
Her research has been concerned with a wide range of reproductive health policies, such as the demographic consequences of declining birthrates including the “globalization of motherhood”, the explosive increase in ARTs, abortion, conscientious objection to provision of reproductive health care services, maternal-fetal conflict, work and reproduction. She has previously focused on policy consequences for those at highest risk of adverse reproductive health outcomes, including pregnant women entitled to welfare benefits, those who use illicit drugs, are HIV infected, are homeless, immigrants, and those who are poor and dependent on governmental programs.
- Abortion Access
- Maternal and Reproductive Health
Chavkin, W., Abu-Odeh, D., Clune-Taylor, C., Dubow, S., Ferber, M., & Meyer, I. H. (2018, November). Balancing freedom of conscience and Equitable Access. American journal of public health. https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6187787/
Chavkin, W., Stifani, B. M., Bridgman?Packer, D., Greenberg, J. M. S., & Favier, M. (2018). Implementing and expanding safe abortion care: An international comparative case study of six countries. International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, 143(S4), 3–11. https://doi.org/10.1002/ijgo.12671
Chavkin, W., Baffoe, P., & Awoonor?Williams, K. (2018). Implementing safe abortion in Ghana: “We must tell our story and tell it well.” International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, 143(S4), 25–30. https://doi.org/10.1002/ijgo.12674
Chavkin, W., Swerdlow, L., & Fifield , J. (2017). Regulation of Conscientious Objection to Abortion: An International Comparative Multiple-Case Study. Health and Human Rights , 19(1), 55–68. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28630541/
Chavkin W, Swerdlow L. Motherhood in Fragments: The disaggregation of biology and care. In Babies for Sale: Transnational surrogacy, human rights and the politics of reproduction, ed. Miranda Davies. 2017
Chavkin W, Maher JM eds. The Globalization of Motherhood: deconstructions and reconstructions of biology and care. Routledge Press. 2010
Chavkin W., Chesler E., eds. Where Human Rights Begin: Essays on Health, Sexuality and Women, Ten Years after Vienna, Cairo and Beijing. Rutgers University Press: 2005.
Chavkin W, Draut T, Romero D, and Wise PH. Sex, Reproduction and Welfare Reform. Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law and Policy 2000; 7(2):1-11.
Chavkin W, Wise PH and Elman D. “Policies Towards Pregnancy and Addiction: Sticks Without Carrots.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1998; 846:335-340.
Chavkin W, ed. Double Exposure: Women's Health Hazards on the Job and at Home. Monthly Review Press, New York, 1984.
Global Health Activities
- Global Doctors for Choice (GDC) is an international network of physicians that advocate for reproductive healthcare and rights. Public health and medical interns have participated in many of its programs and committees, and GDC looks forward to further work with students.
- Member of Expert Advisory, Health Exception, and Self-Managed Abortion Committees for Global Doctors for Choice
- Expert Advisor to Doctors for Choice Ireland on Referendum, Conscientious Objection, and Implementation of New Abortion Service; and Expert Advisor to Doctors for Choice Ghana on conscientious objection to abortion provision and implementation of the comprehensive abortion care guidelines
- Policy Responses to Fertility Decline
- Regulation of conscientious objection
Urban Health Activities
Finding Common Ground: Study of impact of welfare reform on health of women and children of Washington Heights
NYC Dept of Health: Consultant re infant and maternal mortality.
Planned Parenthood, NYC: Member, Medical Committee