Foundation Scholar Vivica Lewis

The Chicago Chapter of the Circumnavigators Club and Northwestern University have sponsored Vivica Lewis to make a circumnavigation in 2022 while conducting research on her topic entitled: "Birth Control Bans to Contraceptive Care". This is explained below in more detail in the section on her Research Topic.

Background on Vivica Lewis

Vivica E Lewis was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and she is a proud graduate of Carmen Schools of Science and Technology. Vivica was the first graduate of Carmen Schools to receive acceptance and attend Northwestern University. Now, as a third-year student, Vivica studies sociology and global health studies with a module in health communication.

During her first year at Northwestern University, she joined Peer Health Exchange (PHE) as a volunteer health educator for a local high school. This is where Vivica began to realize her passion for sexual health education and reproductive justice. As a second-year student, Vivica became the co-chair of the Northwestern chapter, and she trained and managed the program of over 70 educators during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To continue nurturing her skills and understanding of reproductive justice, Vivica previously worked as an intern and now serves as a community advisory board member for Illinois Contraceptive Access Now (ICAN!). In addition, Vivica is a member of Sexual Health and Assault Peer Educators (SHAPE) on campus and works as a sexual health education intern in the Office of Student Health and Wellness for Chicago Public Schools. This extensive background inside and outside of the classroom in sexual health coupled with her own experiences is what motivated Vivica to create and pursue this research project.

Outside of school, Vivica enjoys eating good food with her roommate, reading young adult fiction books, and listening to lots of rap, Latin pop, and R&B. Vivica also frequently visits home to spend time with her family including her parents, younger sister, and two pitbulls–who are all her greatest motivations to continue doing better.

Vivica Lewis Research Topic

Most of the current research depends on quantitative data from surveys or statistics about contraceptive uptake (Irala et al. 2011; Sieving et al. 2001). Her research addresses the gap of qualitative data from providers and public health professionals regarding their perspectives on cultural shifts and youth education and programming. While all/some of the countries she proposes to examine have legalized birth control, legalization of birth control does not automatically equate to immediate cultural acceptance and uptake, so the focus of interviews with providers who work with the youth population–now who are one to two generations removed from legalization. The viewpoint of providers is significant because they play a large role in the accessibility and education surrounding contraceptive options for youth (Irala et al. 2011). Moreover, there is extensive research around positive experiences with comprehensive sexual health education which promotes favorable health outcomes including a decrease in unintended teen pregnancies, an increase in condom and contraceptive use which decreases rates of sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) in youth, and an overall delay in age of initiation of sex (Kirby 2010; Stanger-Hall 2011; Starkman & Rajani 2004). This research will allow various clinics and institutions to learn from each other and identify how they can adapt their own programs.

Itinerary of Vivica's Circumnavigation

Vivica visited these countries during her circumnavigation in the summer of 2022.

  • June 9 - June 22     Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • June 22 - July 7     London, United Kingdom
  • July 7 - July 21     Dublin, Ireland
  • July 21 - August 4     Paris, France
  • August 4 - August 18    Singapore