An Independent School • Grades 5-12

Christine Dehlendorf ’92: Person-centered healthcare

Photo by Matt Lever

December 2021

Christine Dehlendorf ’92 directs the reproductive health program at the University of California, San Francisco. Her work focuses on person-centered healthcare, especially for underserved populations. As someone who provided and received reproductive healthcare, Dehlendorf witnessed how clinical health was often prioritized over patients’ own preferences.

This was especially true in abortion care. Because of the stigmas and conflicting attitudes around reproductive health, abortion patients often expected the system to treat them badly. In Dehlendorf’s experience in her personal practice, patients were happily surprised when they received respectful, compassionate healthcare.

To push back on oppressive narratives related to reproduction, people’s bodies, and the ways in which oppression has been forced upon people of color… That’s incredibly meaningful to me.

This discrepancy between the ideal of what healthcare could be and the reality of stigma-laden, uncompassionate treatment inspired Dehlendorf to work towards healing the system. Her work now centers on reproductive autonomy and racial justice in medicine. Through person-centered research designed to understand peoples’ preferences and interventions implemented to support those preferences, Dehlendorf aims to support the kind of practice where people can feel respected while having the family they want to have.