LGBTQ+ Community Conversation Series

WeARE is dedicated to providing inclusive reproductive health education and medical services for the Brainerd Lakes Area. As part of our commitment to inclusion, we are seeking voices from the LGBTQ+ community in order to help guide our future programming and services.

Please join us for our first LGBTQ+ Community Conversation, happening on May 10th from 6-7pm in the Brainerd Public Library’s large meeting room. This interactive session is a chance for LGBTQ+ folks to give input about educational topics, workshops, and services they would like to see from WeARE.

We want our programming to truly reflect the needs of our community, and we recognize that this means first listening to the LGBTQ+ community themselves. While this session is intended for those who identify as LGBTQ+, all (parents, partners, and allies) are welcome.

Pediatricians and Birth Control

 
WeARE would like to introduce you to Tori Bahr, MD. Tori was born and raised in Baxter, 
graduating from Brainerd Senior High in 2005. She is currently in her final year of 
Internal Medicine and Pediatrics residency at the University of Minnesota as her 
program’s Chief Resident. She is originally from Baxter and a WeARE supporter. Dr. 
Bahr is working to ensure Pediatricians and Internists in training gain the appropriate 
skills and knowledge to provide excellent sexual health care for their future patients.  
 
Long acting reversible contraception (LARC – e.g., IUDs and implants) is considered 
one of the most reliable forms of birth control; however, this option is often not 
considered standard patient care for adolescents. As an example, Dr. Bahr notes that 
pediatricians who interact with new families often “refer their patients to an OB/GYN, 
Planned Parenthood, or other contraceptive clinics to get this care” instead of meeting 
this patient need immediately. Dr. Bahr has championed a new effort at the University of 
Minnesota starting July 1, 2018 where all pediatric and internal medicine residents will 
be trained to place LARCs. Her advocacy helps support WeARE’s mission and serves 
the adolescent population across MN. As she notes, “ Our goal is to make access to 
nexplanon (just one LARC) more readily available by preparing more pediatricians to be 
able to offer this as a service within their own clinic. 
 
WeARE​: “How do you think this change in the training program for residents will impact 
Minnesota’s youth?” 
 
Tori​: “We know that LARCs are the most reliable form of birth control. We also know 
that adolescents are a vulnerable population often missing appointments. Further, the 
AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics), ACOG (American College of 
Obstetricians and Gynecologists), and the SFP (Society for Family Planning) all 
recommend this form as the first line birth control method for adolescents and 
young adults.​ Despite this, LARC use among US females ages 15-19 is only 4.3%! 
 
The University of Minnesota Pediatric residency program is the primary source of 
Minnesota’s pediatrician work force. As such, this will provide better access to LARC 
placement for Minnesota’s youth in a variety of practice settings.” 
 
WeARE​: “What are the current barriers for the availability of this form of birth control for 
our youth?” 
 
Tori:​ “Barriers to more widespread use include 1) cost and clinic operations; 2) 
adolescent awareness and attitude; 3) confidentiality and 4) health care provider 
knowledge, attitude and counseling [Berlan, et al. J Peds Adoles Gyn. 30 (2017): 
47-52). As such, the goal of this project is to really tackle the fourth issue of health care 
provider knowledge and attitude.  
 
We need providers that either can provide this service in the clinic at point of care in a 
variety of practice settings or understand what the procedure is to explain it to their 
patients in a way that encourages them to get this procedure. Many providers start 
patients on birth control pills, but we know that this is not the most effective way to 
prevent pregnancy.” 
 
About Tori: 
Tori was born and raised in Baxter, graduating from Brainerd Senior High in 2005. She 
studied Biology and Chemistry at Augsburg College before obtaining her medical doctor 
degree from the University of Minnesota in 2014. She is currently in her final year of 
Internal Medicine and Pediatrics residency at the University of Minnesota and will stay 
on an additional year as her program’s Chief Resident. In this role she will continue her 
work ensuring Pediatricians and Internists in training gain the appropriate skills and 
knowledge to provide excellent sexual health care to their future patients. She hopes to 
pursue a career working with adolescents and young adults with childhood chronic 
illness and disability in order to maximize their ability to live independent and fulfilling 
lives.  
 
 
 
MORE ABOUT LARCS 
 
LARC (Long Acting Reversible Contraception) methods are safe and effective for most 
women and youth and can be removed at any time if pregnancy is desired. LARCs 
include: 
Intrauterine contraceptives (IUCs) – a health practitioner inserts a small, 
T-shaped device in your uterus. 
Implants – a health practitioner inserts a thin, matchstick-sized plastic rod under 
the skin of your upper arm. 
 
LARCs available through your health practitioner are branded as Nexplanon, Mirena, 
and ParaGard. 
 
It is important to note that LARCs do not provide protection against STIs. Using 
condoms during intercourse is critical to ensure you are protected.