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The Bruno Brief: Free emergency contraception at Brown

While Health Services has offered emergency and prescription contraceptives for over a decade, until recently students had to pay for or use their insurance in order to attain them. But, per a recent announcement, over the counter emergency contraceptives with be available for free at Health Services’s on-campus pharmacy. In this episode of the Bruno Brief, we learn more about the details of this story as well as filling you in on other important stories from the week. 

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Finn Kirkpatrick


Welcome back to the Bruno Brief, I’m Finn Kirkpatrick, podcast and arts and culture editor. This semester, the Bruno Brief will be looking a little different. The podcast will be returning to its original format, spotlighting an important story and telling you what you need to know for the week. 

But that doesn’t mean that the deep dives we’ve been releasing the past few semesters are going away. Expect new podcasts alongside the Bruno Brief that will continue to delve into fascinating corners of Brown’s history and our student body.

On this week’s episode we spoke with Aniyah Nelson, a University News Editor, about her reporting on the September 7th announcement that the University’s Health Services will offer free, over the counter emergency contraceptives at its on-campus pharmacy. 

Health Services has offered emergency and prescription contraceptives for over a decade, according to Vanessa Britto MSc’96, the associate vice president for campus life and executive director of health and wellness. But prior to the recent announcement, students had to pay-out of-pocket or use their insurance to receive the products. 

Now students will be able to access these products for free without a prescription or health insurance coverage.

Finn Kirkpatrick

So Aniyah, who did you talk to for this story?

Aniyah Nelson

So I talked to two people for the story. I talked to Dr. Vanessa Britto MSc’96, who is currently the associate vice president of campus life and also the executive director of Health and Wellness. And I also talked to monique jonath ’24 who works as a sexual health advocate and peer educator for the Sexual Health Awareness Group.

Finn Kirkpatrick


And what did they say?

Aniyah Nelson

When I talked to Dr. Britto, she talked about how this initiative intends to expand equity and make those resources more available to members of the Brown community.

And from monique jonath we kind of talked about how this move is really important in terms of making sure that members of the Brown community are aware of what kinds of resources are available on campus. One of the things that they mentioned when I spoke with them was that in their work, they find that a lot of Brown students aren’t aware that reproductive resources are available at Brown and that they can access them at the pharmacy. So this new initiative could be really important for making sure people are aware of what’s available on campus.

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Finn Kirkpatrick

Given that lack of knowledge, in what ways is Health Services trying to raise awareness about their programs?

Aniyah Nelson

So health services and BWell Health Promotion plan to offer pop-up events throughout the fall semester in order to make sure that students are aware that these resources are available to them on campus. And they’re also going to have both peer educators as well as medical providers who are there to answer any questions that members of the Brown community may have. And they’re also going to be handing out safer sex supplies and contraceptive resources if needed, so those will all be available at those events throughout the fall.

Finn Kirkpatrick

And how does this plan fit into the national political context?

Aniyah Nelson

When I talked with monique, one of the things that they mentioned was that access is really important at universities, especially now in light of the fact that Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court last year. So one of the things that monique mentioned was that they hope that Brown making these resources more available to the community might inspire a broader national trend in terms of maybe incentivizing other universities to embrace similar initiatives in terms of making reproductive health resources more readily available for their student body.

Finn Kirkpatrick

Once again Aniyah, thanks so much for coming in.

Aniyah Nelson 

Of course, thanks for having me.

Finn Kirkpatrick 

Now here is a recap of other important stories happening this week. As a content warning, this first story includes references to sexual assault. 

National Sexual Assault Hotline available 24 hours: 1-800-656-4673

Brown University Title IX Office: and 401-863-2026

Campus Incident Complaint Form

Brown Counseling and Psychological Services: 401-863-3476

SHARE Advocates are available for appointment by calling 401-863-2794 or emailing

End Sexual Violence @ Brown Peer Support Partners

A lawsuit filed Monday alleges that the University violated the law in mishandling a Title IX case and accuses a former Brown men’s lacrosse player of raping a student in October 2021. The case is one of several recent lawsuits alleging that the University has violated Title IX.

In other news, The Graduate Labor Organization is continuing their contract negotiations with the University, tentatively agreeing on four articles in a new contract, including one which prevents the union from striking and the University from locking out workers at any point. The next bargaining session is scheduled for Sept. 20.

At a meeting on Tuesday evening, the Providence City Council Committee on Finance did not vote on two proposed voluntary payment agreements between the city and four private higher education institutions, including Brown.The meeting will be continued at a later date, with a public hearing scheduled for Sept. 26.

Lastly, several campus buildings faced flooding and leakages following a flash flood warning in some parts of Providence County Sunday afternoon. Sears House was the most affected, with leakages also occurring in Sternlicht Commons and Harkness House. This comes before Hurricane warnings in the region, with predictions of Hurricane Lee reaching the coasts of New England from Friday night into Saturday morning. 

Thanks again for tuning into the first episode of this season of the Bruno Brief. This episode was produced by Jacob Smollen and me, Finn Kirkpatrick. If you like what you hear, subscribe to The Bruno Brief wherever you get your podcasts and leave a review. Thanks for listening. We'll see you next week.

Music Credits:

Denzel Sprak: 

Our Only Lark 

Hakodate Line (piano lead)


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