Dr. Villavicencio (MPP’20) balances increasing demands of medical field with completing her MPP

April 9, 2020

Medical professionals like Dr. Jen Villavicencio (MPP ‘20) are enduring grueling professional and personal circumstances to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. VIllavicencio is a practicing OB-GYN and abortion provider, a lecturer at the University of Michigan, and an MPP candidate at the Ford School of Public Policy.

Last spring she completed her advanced Family Planning Fellowship at Michigan Medicine. An April 7 article in Vogue highlights the struggles she faces during the COVID-19 pandemic response. “As a doctor who also provides abortions, she’s also facing another particularly inhumane challenge: an onslaught of attacks from GOP politicians who are attempting to use a global pandemic to ban abortion care and impede her and her fellow providers’ ability to treat patients.”

But she would not consider changing her practice. “I got into medicine because of my desire to help people, and I specifically got into obstetrics and gynecology and abortion caregiving because it’s a moral duty. I am compelled by the deepest part of my soul to help people in times of need.”

Dr. Villavicencio told Ford School staff she has managed medicine and her masters with a lot of school backing. “Balancing a busy OB-GYN practice with the rigorous curriculum at Ford School has been made smoother by the incredible support I have received from the administration, my professors, and peers. Without their understanding when my pager went off in the middle of a stats lecture, the lending of notes when I had to miss a class to perform an emergency surgery, and the fun (and productive!) late-night study sessions, I wouldn't have made it to my last semester. I am immensely proud to be a Fordie and call my fellow policy-wonks friends and colleagues."

Her peers have been inspired by her work. “Just this week, her policy one-pager on the need for ongoing Medicaid coverage for post-pregnancy tubal ligations made it on Governor Whitmer’s desk. Her devotion is unwavering, as I know she'll continue to provide care for patients in the difficult weeks to come. She’s truly my Ford School hero,” said Leah Squires (MPP ‘20).


Click here to read the full Vogue article.


Jen Villavicencio, MD (MPP ‘20) is a practicing Obstetrician-Gynecologists and Family Planning specialist. She is a Cuban American from Miami, Florida where she completed her undergraduate degree in Neuroscience. She received her medical degree at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine and completed her OB GYN residency at Brown University. She completed the Family Planning Fellowship at the University of Michigan in 2019 and will complete her Master's in Public Policy in May 2020. She has an interest in complex contraception, abortion caregiving, reproductive justice-based health policy and advocacy.