Donald Downing, RpH & Nerys Benfield, MD, MPH

Don is a Clinical Professor at the University Of Washington School Of Pharmacy in Seattle and Endowed Chair of the Institute for Innovative Pharmacy Practice. He and colleagues developed the country's first pharmacist-initiated contraception, emergency contraception and immunization programs. In January 2012 the Journal of Contraception published Prof. Downing's editorial titled: "Inviting the Pharmacist: A Model for Improved Reproductive Care Access." In 2014, Downing was presented with the 2014 Felicia Stewart Award for lifetime achievement in efforts to increase access to emergency contraception by the American Society for Emergency Contraception and the International Consortium for Emergency Contraception. In 2015 Governor Inslee signed a bill written by Professor Downing, SB 5557, which requires all commercial health plans in Washington state to contract with pharmacists as clinical providers in their health plans. For the first time in U.S. history, at least pharmacists in Washington State are properly incentivized to provide contraceptive and other clinical services rather than fully depending on drug sales for revenue.

Nerys Benfield is an assistant professor and the director of Family Planning and the Fellowship in Family Planning. She completed her undergraduate degree at Harvard University, her medical training and Family Planning Fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco and her Masters of Public Health at University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Benfield's research interests include the integration of contraceptive counseling, access, and distribution into medical care for high-risk women both domestically and internationally, uro-genital fistula, and clinical training and health technologies in low-resource settings. Dr. Benfield has worked in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo since 2008 where she has developed an academic collaborative research and clinical training program with research interests that include the integration of contraceptive counseling, access, and distribution into medical care for high-risk women, uro-genital fistula, and methods to optimize evidence-based clinical training and the use of health technologies such as information and communication technologies (ICT) and ultrasound in low-resource settings.