Cynthia Harper, PhD

School of Medicine
Location Required, #001
Cynthia Harper
Education and Training

Middlebury College,Middlebury, VT, BA - 06/1984 Political Science

Middlebury College,Madrid, Spain, MA - 06/1985 Spanish

Columbia University,New York, MY, MIA - 06/1987 International and Public Affairs

Princeton University,Princeton, NJ, PhD - 06/1996 Demography and Health Policy

University of Pennsylvania,Philadelphia, PA, Post-doctoral Fellowship - 08/1998 Population Studies

Awards and Honors

Ford Foundation Human Rights Fellowship, Columbia University, 1986

National Institutes of Health Traineeship in Demography, NIH/NICHD, Princeton University, 1992

Center of Domestic and Comparative Policy Studies Fellow, Princeton University, 1993

Charles F. Westoff Dissertation Prize in Demography, Princeton University, 1996

Roy M. Pitkin Award (co-author), American College of Obstretricians and Gynecologists, 2000

Roy M. Pitkin Award (first author), American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 2005

Nominated for Postdoctoral Scholar's Association Outstanding Mentor Award, UCSF, 2006

Nominated for Academic Senate Distinction in Mentoring Award, UCSF, 2011

Darroch Award for Excellence in Sexual and Reproductive Health Research, Guttmacher Institute, 2013

Top 4 Oral Abstracts (senior author), Society of Family Planning, 2014

Best Translational Research (senior author), Society of Family Planning, 2015

Award for the Population, Reproductive, and Sexual Health Section posters (Senior Author), American Public Health Association, 2016

Award for Population, Reproductive and Sexual Health posters (senior author), American Public Health Association, 2016

Award for Outstanding Continuing Education Outcomes Assessment, Alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions, 2016

Editor's Choice article (Senior Author), Women's Health Issues, 2021

Award for Best Research Poster (Senior Author), American College Health Association, 2021

Outstanding Research Mentorship, UCSF Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences, 2022
Cynthia C. Harper, PhD, is a Professor in Residence in the UCSF Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, and is the Director of the UCSF-Kaiser Permanente BIRCWH (Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health) K12 scholar training program. She is a member of the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health Executive Committee. Dr. Harper conducts research on contraception with the aim of improving access to care and women's health outcomes through clinical practice and health policy changes.

With a team at UCSF Bixby, she conducted a series of studies over many years and policy contexts that helped to transform emergency contraception from a little known regimen of cut up packets of pills to a product widely available over the counter to everyone, including teens and undocumented populations. The research informed judicial and FDA decisions to ultimately move emergency contraception over-the-counter in the U.S. It also had a wide impact on policy and regulatory decisions in other countries where women can now access emergency contraception.

Dr. Harper and her research team developed a provider contraceptive training curriculum that successfully reduced unintended pregnancy by nearly half among women in family planning clinics. The clinic intervention, tested in a large, national randomized trial, was a the first one to effectively decrease unintended pregnancy. The intervention also was demonstrated to respect women's autonomy in contraceptive-decision-making.

Based on this effective intervention, Dr. Harper and her national training team, led by Dr. Suzan Goodman, have built a contraceptive training program, Beyond the Pill (beyondthepill.ucsf.edu), that offers a UCSF-Continuing Education-accredited course to physicians, nurses and health educators. They are bringing their intervention to scale reaching practices across the country, including large urban hospital systems, departments of health, FQHCs, family planning clinics, teen clinics, school-based health centers, and community colleges. The Beyond the Pill program has trained over 6,000 providers, reaching more than 2,000,000 contraceptive patients annually. In response to the Zika public health emergency, they partnered with the CDC Foundation and local stakeholders to train obstetrician-gynecologists in Puerto Rico. During this implementation science phase, the intervention has continued to have a significant impact on clinical practice changes and patient outcomes.