Sarah Munro receives grant to research rural medication abortion care 

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Dr. Sarah Munro (PhD, MA), assistant professor of Health Systems and Population Health, is a principal investigator on a research team looking to create evidence-based guidelines to support abortion care for people living in remote areas. The project, “How far is too far?” Creating an evidence base to support safe provision of medication abortion for people living far from emergency services received a 4-year, $2.9 million grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. 

Sarah Munro

Dr. Munro—who joined the UW Department of Health Systems and Population Health faculty in January of 2024—explained the rationale behind this project. “Although medication abortion can provide abortion closer to home, current guidelines prevent its use unless a person stays close to emergency services for at least 2 weeks.” This stems from a very rare complication where the patient may need a blood transfusion after treatment. However, only about one out of every 1,000 patients end up needing transfusions.  

With this grant, the research team will generate data to inform clinical guidelines for health care professionals, and decision support tools for people seeking abortion. Dr. Munro added, “Our team convenes Indigenous leaders, patients, and government leaders with world-leading experts in abortion care from Canada, Australia, Sweden and Scotland.” 

Equitable access to contraception and abortion care has been a longstanding focus of Dr. Munro’s work.

“After supporting the rollout of medication abortion in Canada in 2017, I was disheartened to see ongoing access disparities for people seeking to end a pregnancy,” said Munro. “People in urban centres had access to options closer to home, but that was a distant hope for many people in rural and remote communities who continued to travel significant distances for abortion.”

Cassiar Highway

“No one should be inhibited from accessing high quality, preventative health care, particularly for a choice that is both highly safe and highly personal, like a medication abortion.” 

-Dr. Sarah Munro

Among the team of researchers is Emily Godfrey (MD, MPH), an OBGYN and Associate Professor at the UW School of Medicine. Additional details about this research project can be found on the Canadian Institutes of Health Research website.  

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