The Guttmacher Institute is pleased to announce Dr. Maria Rodriguez, associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, family planning section, at the Oregon Health & Science University, as the 2019 recipient of the Darroch Award for Excellence in Sexual and Reproductive Health Research.

Dr. Rodriguez has dedicated her career to finding and implementing solutions that expand access to sexual and reproductive health, both domestically and internationally. Her research focuses on evaluating the impacts of reproductive health programs and policies; Dr. Rodriguez works to ensure her findings lead to improvements in reproductive health care in and beyond the state of Oregon. Dr. Rodriguez was nominated for the award because of her rigorous research methods and her ability to connect with health care providers, administrators, and policy makers, as well as her role as a supportive mentor to medical students and junior colleagues.

The impact of Dr. Rodriguez’s work extends beyond the research community; she serves as the medical director for Oregon Health Authority’s Title X and Breast/Cervical Cancer Prevention Programs. Over the last 10 years, Dr. Rodriguez’s research has been used as the foundation for policy change in Oregon that has positioned the state as a leader in reproductive health care—codifying the right to abortion, extending Medicaid coverage for postpartum LARCs, and expanding services covered under Emergency Medicaid to include both new and undocumented immigrants during the antenatal and postpartum periods. Her research and other work to build multidisciplinary collaborations have generated evidence that led to Oregon becoming the first state to allow pharmacists to provide prescription contraceptives directly to patients.

 “Dr. Rodriguez’s policy-relevant research exemplifies the core tenets of the Darroch Award,” says Kathryn Kost, the Guttmacher Institute’s interim vice president for domestic research. “The practical applications of her work have led to real and lasting policy change in her home state of Oregon and beyond its borders.”

Dr. Rodriguez earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Oregon. Dr. Rodriguez obtained her MD at the Oregon Health & Science University and her MPH from the University of California, Berkeley. She also received a Fellowship in Family Planning from the University of California, San Francisco and has served as a medical officer at the World Health Organization. 

The Darroch Award was established in 2005 to recognize excellence among sexual and reproductive health researchers who are in the early or middle years of their careers. It is named for Jacqueline E. Darroch, PhD, formerly senior vice president for science and currently a senior fellow at the Guttmacher Institute, whose long career at Guttmacher has exemplified rigorous and innovative work on sexual and reproductive health issues, and a commitment to the practical application of research to policy and programs. The award is presented biennially.

Past recipients:

  • 2005    Elizabeth G. Raymond, MD, MPH, a researcher at Family Health International and a practicing obstetrician-gynecologist
  • 2007    Sandra G. García, ScD, director of reproductive health for Latin America and the Caribbean at the Population Council
  • 2009    Kelly Blanchard, MSc, president of Ibis Reproductive Health
  • 2011    Eric R. Buhi, MPH, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Community and Family Health at the University of South Florida
  • 2013    Cynthia C. Harper, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco
  • 2015    Wendy V. Norman, MD, assistant professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia
  • 2017    Angel M. Foster, DPhil, MD, associate professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences at the University of Ottawa

For more information about the award, click here.