Ann Bell, assistant professor of sociology, is the lead investigator at UD of the study to evaluate the new Delaware-Contraceptive Access Now intervention.

Researchers at the University of Delaware have been selected to work with colleagues at the University of Maryland to evaluate the Delaware-Contraceptive Access Now (DEL-CAN) intervention.

In February, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and the organization Upstream USA announced the launch of DEL-CAN, financed with private funding of $10 million.

The goal, Markell said, was to ensure that all women, regardless of their insurance status or where they received their health care, have same-day access to a full range of contraceptive methods at low or no cost. The announcement of the initiative noted that Delaware’s rate of unplanned pregnancies, 57 percent, is among the highest in the nation.

The evaluation of DEL-CAN will be conducted over five years by a multi-institution research team, through a contract funded by a private foundation.

The mixed-methods project will evaluate DEL-CAN according to its aims of: reducing unintended pregnancies; reducing Medicaid costs for unintended pregnancies; and supporting policy development that enables contraceptive access for all women who want it.

The evaluation will address both the intervention’s effectiveness and the underlying mechanisms of change brought about by it. The goals of the evaluation are to understand the extent of the initial and sustained impacts in Delaware and the degree to which these impacts may be generalizable to other states.

At UD, the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, the Center for Community Research and Service (CCRS) and the Center for Drug and Health Studies (CDHS) will contribute research expertise and data coordination with Delaware state agencies.

Faculty members at UD who are participating in the evaluation are Ann Bell, assistant professor of sociology and lead investigator of the evaluation at UD; Steven Peuquet, CCRS director and associate professor of public policy and administration; and Steve Martin, CDHS senior scientist.

Michael Rendall, director of the Maryland Population Research Center and professor of sociology at the University of Maryland, is the principal investigator of the evaluation.

At the University of Maryland, College Park, the study will comprise efforts from faculty in sociology, the Joint Program in Survey Methodology, and Economics in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, and faculty in Health Services Administration and Family Science in the School of Public Health.

The University of Maryland Baltimore County’s Hilltop Institute will coordinate comparisons of Maryland and Delaware Medicaid-eligible women.