Who We Are and What We Do

Founded in 1971, CHOICE is a community-based organization dedicated to increasing awareness of and access to reproductive, sexual, and maternal/child health services. CHOICE is the Philadelphia and Pennsylvania region’s most often-used resource for sexual health information, serving more than 22,000 people each year through the operation of five bilingual (Spanish-English and other languages through a translation service) hotlines and a growing program of outreach, trainings, and community education. We are particularly concerned with the distinctive needs of women, youth, and other minority populations from under-served communities who have traditionally experienced barriers to care.

More About CHOICE

Mission and History
CHOICE – Concern for Health Options: Information, Care, and Education – increases access to accurate information and essential services concerning reproductive, sexual, and family health, empowers people through education and counseling, and provides all of these services with empathy and respect. CHOICE works to overcome and eliminate barriers that impede access to quality health care and information for all individuals – regardless of economic status, gender, age, race, religion, culture, or sexual orientation.

CHOICE was founded in 1971 by a coalition of volunteer clergy and Quakers in an effort to assist women facing crisis pregnancies, with a goal to provide unbiased counseling and information about all available options. Over the years, CHOICE expanded its services to provide information and referrals related not only to pregnancy options, but also to a wide variety of reproductive health issues (such as sexually transmitted diseases, prenatal care, and childbirth), HIV/AIDS, and childcare. Today, we remain true to this mission, offering free, confidential and reliable help in an ever‐widening array of reproductive and sexual health concerns to anyone in need.

Our Approach
Through our programs, we connect individuals and communities to quality education, short-term counseling, and seamless referrals in the areas of prenatal care, family planning, pregnancy options, STI/STD testing and treatment, and much more. CHOICE empowers our consumers by offering not only referrals and information, but detailed education around personal and sensitive health care issues that enables them to better understand their concerns and advocate for their healthcare rights. We maintain a highly-customized database of over 700 agencies operating over 1,000 programs across Pennsylvania, and regularly communicate with this network to ensure we are giving usable referrals to high-quality providers, and to offer agencies confidential feedback from consumers on exemplary services and service gaps.
Annual Report
Initially, the main focus of CHOICE was to provide options counseling for pregnant women. This counseling included helping women access out-of-state abortion services prior to the Supreme Court decision on Roe vs. Wade, issued in 1973. Over the years, CHOICE expanded its services to provide information and referrals related not only to pregnancy options, but also to a wide variety of reproductive health issues (such as sexually transmitted diseases, prenatal care, and childbirth), HIV/AIDS, and childcare.

Today, CHOICE continues to serve as a clearinghouse of reproductive and sexual health information, including family planning, pregnancy options and disease transmission/prevention and as a provider of referrals, counseling, education, and advocacy to women and teens, particularly those not well served by traditional institutions.  The gathering and dissemination of information, as well as related patient advocacy and outreach, were and continue to be primary functions of CHOICE.  The following timeline offers a detailed glimpse into the evolution of CHOICE’s hotlines, community education, and outreach programs over the years.  View timeline.

Our Impact

Since its founding, CHOICE has touched the lives of millions of women, men, young people, parents, guardians, educators, and community leaders throughout the Philadelphia metropolitan region.

In the past year…

Students visited CHOICE Health Resource Centers to receive health-related information, services, and referrals.
Teens received comprehensive health education from CHOICE educators.
Callers to the CHOICE hotlines received immediate, accurate, and confidential education and counseling on reproductive and sexual health issues.
Community members, teachers, and health care providers attended CHOICE outreach events
Individuals received CHOICE educational materials.

Meet Our Board and Staff

Susan Stockl, Interim Executive Director
With more than 25 years of experience in the technology field, Susan has worked at CHOICE since 2000; in addition to currently serving as Interim Executive Director, her duties include serving as the agency’s operations and technology director. She designed many of the CHOICE web sites and developed and implemented several databases for CHOICE. She is skilled at extracting and analyzing data collected from our programs.  Prior to joining CHOICE,  Susan worked for Roy F. Weston, Inc., an environmental [read more...]

Meet Our Staff

Kerri Barthel, Board PresidentKerri Barthel, CHOICE Board President, has over 15 years of experience advocating for and supporting the needs of individuals with life-threatening and debilitating diseases, along with their families. She has implemented, evaluated and enhanced HIV programs in Philadelphia, spearheaded and managed the Pennsylvania Campaign for Microbicides, and supervised  [read more...]

Meet Our Board