Senior Fellow Berk Ozler on Female Contraceptive Use in Cameroon

World Bank economist and UCLA Luskin Senior Fellow Berk Ozler discussed his recent work educating young women in Cameroon about effective contraceptive use. Many of these women face barriers such as inaccurate information, side effects and long-term costs, he said during the Oct. 24, 2018, Senior Fellows Lecture. Widespread myths among the local community discourage young women from using birth control, he said. Of the young women who do use birth control, 22% stop because of reported side effects. Meanwhile, long-term costs prevent young women from using birth control at all. On the provider side, Ozler said inadequate on-the-job training leaves nurses unprepared to provide proper counseling. The providers’ implicit bias for or against birth control pressures young women into making decisions that may not be best for their reproductive health. Subsidies incentivize governments to invest in more birth control, but not in proper contraceptive education, he said. Ozler and his team developed a tablet-based app to address these issues. Based on a counseling framework developed by Cameroonian experts, the app enables nurses to counsel young women on birth control options. Ozler said the app will reduce provider bias, increase agency among young females and streamline the information collection process. He is confident the app will increase effective contraceptive use among young women in Cameroon. Ozler, the lead economist of the World Bank’s Development Research Group, is one of 12 new mentors in UCLA Luskin’s Senior Fellows program.— Myrka Vega 


Fostering Leadership: 2018-2019 Senior Fellows Breakfast

UCLA Luskin hosted an opening breakfast to kick off the 22nd year of the Senior Fellows Leadership Program, a mentoring program that matches UCLA Luskin graduate students with distinguished leaders from the public, private and nonprofit sectors. This program gives students an opportunity to enhance their academic experience by connecting and establishing networks with leaders in their areas of interest. This year, Dean Gary Segura welcomed 12 new Senior Fellows, including several UCLA alumni, in addition to the 36 returning Senior Fellows, making up the largest group of Senior Fellow mentors in the program’s history. Edmund Cain, vice president of grant programming at the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and returning Senior Fellow, was the keynote speaker for the Oct. 25, 2018, breakfast, which was organized by UCLA Luskin External Programs and Career Services. The event served as an icebreaker for students and their new Senior Fellow mentors, who will serve as role models for the next generation of leaders in public policy, social welfare and urban planning.

This year’s new Senior Fellow mentors are:

  • Bob Alvarez, BA ’88, chief of staff, California State Sen. Cathleen Galgiani
  • Michael Alvidrez, MA UP ’83, external ambassador, CEO emeritus, Skid Row Housing Trust
  • Cecilia Choi, foreign service officer, U.S. Dept. of State; UCLA Diplomat in Residence
  • Honorable Mike Gatto, former California Assembly member, D-43rd District
  • Seth Jacobson, MPP ’03, senior director, energy and water programs, Climate Resolve
  • Cheryl Mathieu, PhD ’05 (Social Welfare), founder and CEO, AgingPro
  • Honorable Brian Nestande, former California Assembly member, R-42nd District
  • Berk Özler, lead economist, Development Research Group, The World Bank
  • Paco Retana, MSW ’90, vice president of programs, Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic
  • Joel Reynolds, western director, senior attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Faye Washington, president & CEO, YWCA Greater Los Angeles
  • Emily Williams, MPP ’98, senior deputy for human services and child welfare, Office of Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas

For more information about the Senior Fellows Leadership Program or to access a list of all past and returning Senior Fellows, click here.

View more images from the 2018-2019 Senior Fellows Breakfast.