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Melissa Madera

Senior Associate of Research and Education, Reproductive Rights

Melissa Madera, MST, MA, PhD is a multifaceted figure in the movements for reproductive rights, health, and justice. Dr. Madera is a bilingual interdisciplinary researcher, historian, educator, and advocate. Her own abortion experience as a teenager inspired her to create The Abortion Diary (in 2013), the only audio archive of abortion stories. An expert on abortion story-sharing and listening, she works to center the voices of people who have had abortions and end abortion (an all SHRH related) stigma in all facets of her life.

Prior to joining SiX, Melissa worked as a researcher on Project SANA (Self-managed Abortion Needs Assessment), an interdisciplinary research group at The University of Texas at Austin that researches self-managed abortion in the United States, and as a special projects consultant at Plan C Pills, a public health campaign that normalizes the self-directed option of abortion pills by mail. She is also the former Director of Research and Partnerships at Choix, a telehealth clinic that was founded by experienced family planning clinicians with a vision of using technology to expand access to abortion care. Melissa is also a Society of Family Planning 2019 Changemakers in Family Planning Awardee and the former board chair (2020-2024) of inroads (the International Network for the Reduction of Abortion Discrimination and Stigma).

Originally from Washington Heights, New York, Melissa is a queer, first generation Afro-Dominican American who holds a B.A. in History from Baruch College (CUNY), a Master of Science in Social Studies Education from Pace University, and a Master of Arts and a Ph.D. in Latin American and Caribbean History from The State University of New York at Binghamton. Her research on gender, public health and reproductive practices in the Dominican Republic led her to become involved in the contemporary global movements for reproductive justice.  Melissa has been featured on the front page of  The Washington Post, on NPR's Weekend Edition, Hip Latina, Making Contact, Abortion Access Front Podcast: Feminist Buzzkills Live!, P.S. Blossom (Rhia Ventures), Remezcla, Cosmopolitan Magazine,  Latina.com, ThePool.com, Rewire, Univision, MSNBC, and The Daily Dot.

In her free time, Melissa cares for her bees and bunnies, enjoys hiking, collects physical media, listens to her records and cds, watches horror and sci-fi movies and series, and reads science fiction.

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