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Here, we provide a unique opportunity for the research of Spelman College's Health Science program senior class of 2023 and select scholars from the class of 2024. These women were students in Dr. Brittny James' fall 2022 section of Research Inquiries in Health Science and spring 2023 section of Research and Evaluation in Health Science. Requirements of the courses included obtaining CITI training research credentials, leading a Journal Club discussion, and a complete research project. Scholars presented their work during the Fall 2022 WinterFest Research Symposium and at Research Day 2023. Further, scholars were supported in submitting their work to the American Journal of Undergraduate Research. While this medium was unable to identify the work as publishable, their diligence and critical thinking will not go unnoticed.

HCES prides itself on creating fair spaces for minority scholars' work to be highlighted. In honor of Women's History Month 2023, this landing page was developed to highlight the abstracts of these future trailblazers in health equity.


Projects are organized into the following themes (click to navigate):

Each scholar's LinkedIn profile is available. If you are interested in their work, skills, or believe they would be an asset to your organization or program, please don't hesitate to reach out to the scholar(s) personally. 


Access to Healthcare and Mental Health

An Exploration of the Relationship Between Psychological Distress and Risky Sexual Behavior Among Black Women

An Exploration of the Association between Drug Use and Mental Health Status in Black College Students


Kalia Fowler | LinkedIn | Poster

Black women have disproportionately high STD/STI rates. Few studies have explored the factors that influence the disparity. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between psychological distress and risky sexual behavior among Black women. To gain a better understanding of this relationship, variables that measured psychological distress and risky sexual behavior were used from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Psychological distress was measured using a

1-item index, while risky sexual behavior was measured using a four-item index. Frequencies were used to provide context for all of the variables. The Pearson chi-square test was then used to determine whether there was a statistically significant relationship between psychological distress and risky sexual behavior. Overall, the results of this study did not indicate a significant relationship between psychological distress and risky sexual behavior among Black women. The rate of STD/STI self-diagnosis was the only risky sexual behavior associated with psychological distress. Future implications of this study include providing Black women with sex education resources.  

Keywords: Black Women; Sexual Health; Risky Sexual Behavior; STD/STI


Kerrington Harris | LinkedIn | Poster

Design – Secondary analysis of a quantitative, survey-based study.

Background – Current research on the subject shows that Black college students experience higher levels of psychological distress compared to other students. There is a gap in current research because they fail to study the overall state of their mental health, instead they just study mental illnesses. Therefore, the purpose of the present study is to explore mental health in Black college students and 

the ways that they cope with their anxiety and depression with drugs and alcohol. 

Methods – To explore this relationship, variables measuring alcohol and marijuana consumption, as well as self-perception of mental health were used from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study. Frequencies are used to provide contexts for all variables. The chi-square statistic was then used to determine whether or not a statistically significant relationship existed between the following variables and stage of diagnosis: age, income level, and job type.

Discussion and Conclusion – Results of the chi-square test did not demonstrate a significant relationship between mental health in Black college students and coping mechanisms. The findings of the present study are also in line with past research that has shown white students have higher rates of illicit drug use than African American students including marijuana. The information from this study is consistent with the findings that mental health does have a dramatic effect on how Black college students may cope with drugs or alcohol.


Keywords: Anxiety; Depression; PATH Study; Black College Students; Drug Abuse

Health Is Wealth: An Exploration of the Disparities in Healthcare Access and Quality Between Black People and Their White Counterparts


Jade Harvey | LinkedIn | Poster

The goal of this study was to examine and compare the healthcare quality experienced by those who identify as Black versus those who identify as white. NHQDR serves as an interactive variable select tool that assesses a statistically significant relationship between the quantitative data collected for overall healthcare quality depending on socioeconomic status, access to healthcare, and demographic variables organized in a bivariate table. Data were obtained through the National Healthcare Quality and

Disparities Reports (NHQDR). Demographic variables included age, self-reported race/ethnicity, household income relative to federal poverty guidelines, educational status, and insurance coverage. Findings suggest a strong correlation between education level and access to healthcare as well as work status/income and healthcare quality although further research is needed to see how these findings can help close the gap and reverse societal racism and poverty that contribute to poor health. In addition, Future studies should examine the statutory and unofficial regulations affecting health care systems and local elements that enhance preconception care and assistance for individuals residing in the United States. Implications for health care professionals include: 1) recognizing the importance of racially and professionally diverse staffing in all practices; 2) empowering patients to communicate and voice their concerns without feeling like no one cares; 3) ensuring an environment that is not only free of discrimination and disrespect, but that embodies respect (as perceived by patients of varied racial backgrounds) and cultural competence; and 4) providing better access to education and care in low-income neighborhoods especially.


Keywords: Racial Health Disparities; Residential Segregation; Health Equity; Health Inequality; Socioeconomic Status; Structural Racism

An Exploration of the Relationship Between Cannabis Use and Opioid Use on Mental Health among Hispanic Men and Women


Mayah McFarland | LinkedIn | Poster

Surveying the Hispanic population is challenging due to the language barriers, cultural differences, and sampling problems. To gain a better understanding of recommendations for pain management among Hispanics population, the study utilized SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) to explore the relationship, variables measuring mental illness among individuals using cannabis or opioids, age, education, and ethnicity. A Chi-square statistic was used to determine if a significant association

existed between the demographic variables and participants mental status. Through analysis of the datasample a significant relationship was explored between MDD, gender, and education level, in addition to a significant relationship being found between suicidal ideation, age, and gender. Although the study was not able to determine a difference in drugs used for main management, further research should examine the use of illicit drugs as a coping mechanism.



Keywords: Major Depressive Disorder; Suicidal Ideation; Pain Management; Mental Health; Hispanic Health

The Impact of COVID-19 on Mental Health, Behavioral Health, and Access to Health Among Participants in the Mentoring in Medicine Network


Mylana O'Reggio | LinkedIn | Poster

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of many, affecting not only physical health, but mental health and life as we know it as well. Given the limited time spent interacting during the pandemic, the heightened levels of isolation, and the preexisting difficulty measuring a qualitative and subjective topic like mental health, very few studies have been conducted to collect quantitative data on the lasting impact COVID-19 pandemic has had on various populations.The purpose of this study is to determine

how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the mental health of various diverse participants, taking into consideration demographics, behavioral health, and access to care. The study was designed using Google forms, participants answered 21 questions about mental health, demographics, behavioral health, and access to care. A total of 88 participants partook in the study which accepted results from July 2022 until September 2022. The variables explored in this study aided in analyzing the relationship between participants and the COVID-19 pandemic in various aspects financial, emotional, and interpersonal. The variables were mental health, behavioral health, access to healthcare and demographic information. Frequencies were used to examine the gaps between mental health need and received mental health care and further understand the implications changes in mood and lifestyle during the pandemic have in the context of mental health.


Keywords: Mental Health; COVID-19 Pandemic; Access to Healthcare; Behavioral Health; Health Disparities

Harvey Access Quote

Chronic Disease

Chronic Disease

Living in the Bay: Breast Cancer Rates among African American Women, 2013-2017

It is Not Us, it Might be the Hormones: An Exploration of The Linkage of Hormone Status and Breast Cancer


Assata Gui'Chard | LinkedIn | Poster

African American women are more likely to die from breast cancer than white women. However, few studies have explored the causes behind African American women getting diagnosed with later stage breast cancer and geographic references. To gain a better understanding of this phenomenon, the present study used frequency trend to map the locations of which counties had the most cases of African American women in Northern California relative to the median household income based on

each county. Graphs are used to provide context for how the variables connect to each other. The graphs are used to determine whether or not a statistically significant relation existed between the following variables and breast incidence, location, and income level.


Keywords: African American Women; Breast Cancer; Northern California; Women’s Health; Cancer; Chronic Disease

TJ Chronic Quote 2

How Does Depression and Anxiety Correlate to Memory Loss?


Londyn James | LinkedIn |

Background: In the United States, approximately 8.4 percent of the population (21 million people) have been diagnosed with major depressive episodes, and 19.1 percent (an estimated 48 million people) have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. It has been proven that memory loss is highly prevalent amongst individuals diagnosed with anxiety, depression, or both. Depression and anxiety can cause people to "disconnect" from the present moment, resulting in short- or long-term memory loss

Background: In the United States, approximately 8.4 percent of the population (21 million people) have been diagnosed with major depressive episodes, and 19.1 percent (an estimated 48 million people) have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. It has been proven that memory loss is highly prevalent amongst individuals diagnosed with anxiety, depression, or both. Depression and anxiety can cause people to "disconnect" from the present moment, resulting in short- or long-term memory loss depending on how long their most recent depressive/anxious episode lasted. Individuals who are depressed typically have a poor memory for positive events, increased memory for adverse events, and frail recollection. The relationship between memory loss and the two most common psychological disorders has been studied and presented in this study to help improve the well-being of those who suffer from psychologically disordered memory loss.


Objective: The goal was to explore and analyze the correlation between the two most common psychological disorders and how they affect memory retention between genders female and male. Other variables examined include gender, education, race, and income status.


Design:  Cohort qualitative study.


Methods: Data was obtained from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The data shows the relationship between depression and difficulty concentrating in various types of individuals. To gain a better understanding of this phenomenon, bivariate and multivariate analysis were used to estimate the frequency percentage between individuals that found correlation between feeling down, depressed, or hopeless and trouble concentrating. SAS 9.4 software was used to analyze and compile the data.


Results: According to NHANES data, out of the 51.07% of females who suffered from depression and anxiety, 36.88% recall suffering from memory retention. 14.19% of women said not to suffer from memory retention at all. Of the 48.93% of males suffering from the two major psychological disorders, 39.1% suffered from memory loss, while only 9.83% were said not to. Results from this data proves the previous hypothesis that depression and anxiety in fact does affect the hippocampus, the temporal lobe of the brain responsible for memory.


Conclusion: Results from this study show high levels of low retention when suffering from a psychological disorder episode. This study fills a gap in the literature of why peers within our community have trouble with recollection or such a small capacity for remembering simple things or tasks. This research study can be used to help reassure those who suffer from depression and anxiety that memory loss can and may be a side effect of one of the two psychological disorders and within this, interventions can be made or found to help combat this very normal experience.


Keywords: Memory Recollection; Depression; Anxiety; Women; Men

Smith Chronic Quote

Tayce Jacques | LinkedIn | Poster

The development of breast cancer is often associated with hormone fluctuation as a rare, but severe, side effect; however, this speculation has not yet been fully developed nor studied. The general assumption is that there is only a slight increase in the risk of developing cancer from hormone imbalances, but there is room to question the association. While there are efforts to associate women's hormone levels with the development of breast cancer, there is little data exploration of this

theory. Assessing variables such as age, marital status, and stage of cancer help to investigate characteristics of Black women diagnosed with breast cancer. The design of this study is to use chi-square analysis to explore associations between the variables of 291 Black women who were diagnosed with infiltrating duct and lobular carcinoma breast cancer in 2006-2010. A national cancer registry collected data by identifying individuals diagnosed with cancer or receiving care from national healthcare providers who diagnose and treat cancer patients. Results demonstrated no significant relationship between hormone status and cancer stage however some patterns are revealed. Future studies should observe if Black women’s positive or negative estrogen and progesterone status is associated with breast cancer development using a larger cohort of Black women with varied demographic backgrounds to better understand other phenomena that might impact estrogen status.


Keywords: Black Women; Breast Cancer; Hormone Status; Hormone Levels; Estrogen; Progesterone

How Does Systemic Healthcare Have a Negative Effect on Diabetic Patients Living in Rural Areas

Daysha Jernigan | LinkedIn |

Diabetes is a chronic disease characterized by elevated blood glucose levels due to the body's inability to produce insulin. The present study investigated the effects of systemic healthcare on diabetic patients in rural areas. According to the Rural Health Information Hub, 12.6 percent of the U.S. population had diabetes in nonmetropolitan counties in 2016, compared to 9.9 percent in  metropolitan counties. Rural areas have a higher risk of diabetes than urban areas because of the 

prevalence of risk factors and the availability of a wider range of services. When diabetes is not well managed or left untreated, it can result in complications such as, blindness, kidney disease or failure, heart disease, stroke, dementia, nerve damage, circulatory problems, lower-extremity amputations, and death. Although there has been some improvement in the accessibility of diabetes self-management programs, it is unclear whether any progress has been made over the past decade with diabetes, particularly in rural and underserved areas of the United States.


Keywords: Diabetic Patients; Rural Health; Access; Chronic Disease; Preventive Health

Heart to Heart: Discovering the Association Between Cardiovascular Disease and Maternal Morbidity in Black Women in the Southern United States
The 2023 PNMs (12).png

Donecia Mouring | LinkedIn | Poster

Limited research exists on the effects cardiovascular diseases have on pregnancy outcomes for women in the United States. The objective of this study was to perform a frequency-trend analysis to determine the association between cardiovascular disease and maternal morbidity for Black women in the south from 2016 to 2020. Birth rate data per 100,000 collected was obtained from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Natality database via CDC Wonder.Data were extracted using race/ethnicity,

pre-pregnancy diabetes, gestational diabetes, pre-pregnancy hypertension, gestational hypertension, maternal morbidity, and location. Data shows that only one southern state consistently reported maternal morbidity rates in Black women with the health conditions emphasized in this study. The sixteen remaining states either failed to report maternal morbidity or only provided reports for birth rates exceeding 1,000 within the desired population. The result suggest that Black mothers residing in the south lack the proper post-natal care to diagnose and treat health conditions that are acquired after pregnancy. There is also an increased demand for Black physicians knowledgeable on health disparities in the Black population to provide optimum healthcare.


Keywords: Maternal Morbidity; Black Women; Cardiovascular Disease; Maternal Mortality; Pregnancy

Who Cares About Oral Health in African American Children?: A Systematic Review


Layla Smith | LinkedIn | Poster

Oral health is imperative, but it is often overlooked especially in children. African Americans face disparities on an everyday basis, “African Americans are among the racial/ethnic groups that have the poorest oral health in the U.S.” There is little to no research on oral health in African American children, and there is little information on how to improve it. Therefore, the purpose of this study is not only to show the difference in oral healthcare, but to show the lack of research and articles on oral health in

African American children. A Prisma flow chart was used to map out the number of records identified, included, and excluded in the study and Google Scholar was the search engine used. Results from this study show the minimal amount of literature on this topic, and this study can help fill a gap in literature by not only making the public aware of the disparities black children are facing but to provide a solution that can potentially start to close the gap. What this study revealed is that there is no primary research regarding oral health care in African American children. Future implications of this study could include free programs at community centers that could educate children on the importance of oral health along with free dental cleanings for children as well.


Keywords: Oral Health; Black Children; Dental Care; Pediatric Dentistry

College Health

College Health

Does It Matter If Your Coach is Black or White?: An Exploration of Racial Concordance between Athletic Programs’ Leaders and Student Athletes at HBCUs versus non-HBCUs


Tia Butler | LinkedIn | Poster

Racial concordance has been shown to improve relations between patients and clinicians, yet few studies have explored how racial concordance may impact relationships in sports, especially at the collegiate level. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to explore the state of racial concordance between athletic programs’ leaders and student athletes for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as well as non-HBCUs in the United States from 2012-2021.To explore this relationship, variables 

measuring the race and ethnicity for the coaching and administrative positions as well as student athletes were obtained from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Demographics Database. The races/ethnicities measured include American Indian/Alaskan Native, Asian, Black, Hispanic/Latino, International, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, two or more races, unknown, and white. Cluster analysis was used to provide context for these variables. What this study revealed was that there is a lack of Black leadership and a lack of “other” raced leadership in the NCAA, despite the high number of student athletes that identified in these demographic categories. Further implications of this study include exploring how this racial discordance may affect athletic performance as well as academic performance.

Keywords: Racial Concordance; Sports and Health; Racial Disparities; Collegiate Athletics; Higher Education; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Who’s Hungry? Observational Analysis of Food Availability at a PWI and HBCU in Alabama

Kayla Shaw | LinkedIn | Poster

Food accessibility among college students has been an ongoing issue for years as college students have limited access to healthy food options and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) experience this issue at a disproportionately higher rate than predominately white institutions (PWIs). Therefore, the purpose of this study is to analyze the options of food available at and near a PWI and a HBCU that are in close proximity of each other in Alabama. Food availability on and off campus at  

Institution A (a PWI) and Institution B (an HBCU) were examined. The food options available on both campuses were categorized and determined to either be a healthy, non-healthy, or combination food option. Results from this study show that the HBCU experienced more unhealthy food options than the PWI. Future implications of this study include researching the effects that non-healthy foods have on college students’ health and adjacent behaviors, including sleep, academic performance, and financial wellness.

Keywords: Access; College Health; Higher Education; Dining; Nutrition; Food Equity; Food Insecurity

Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby!: An Exploration of the Sexual Health Educational Programs in the Atlanta University Center

Nia Simone Weeks | LinkedIn | Poster

Educational interventions could not only improve the risky sexual health behaviors of college students, but it can also improve their knowledge surrounding sensitive topics such as sexual health. The purpose of this study was to examine and explore what educational programs are offered in the Atlanta University Center’s institutions specifically surrounding sexual health and specifically for their students. Data came from four different HBCUs located in the Atlanta University Center, Spelman

College, Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, and Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM).Of the nine departments contacted at the four schools, four departments answered and only one department was able to answer about what educational programs about sexual health are present at their institutions. Overall, there is more that can be offered in the AUC in regards to safe sexual health. It does not stop there as well. Although this is a sensitive subject, college campuses are unfortunately a place that sexual assaults occur often. There are many students who are looking for a resource and an outlet on where to turn once this occurs. Students should be offered more related to sexual health education. On campuses, there is a kind of complacency with the fact that students do not educate themselves, and administrators/people over departments do not care to educate the students on their risky behaviors, and there is an intervention that needs to be done for it.

Keywords: Sexual Health; Educational Programs; Atlanta University Center; Black College Students; College Health; Reproductive Education

I Paid My Tuition…Why Can’t I Eat Healthy?: An Exploration of Dining Options for Women at a Single-Gender HBCU and PWI in Atlanta


Alexis Holmes | LinkedIn | Poster

Several studies have shown that anywhere from 11 to 45 percent of college students experience food insecurity. Very few studies explore how the food available to students at HBCUs differs from that of PWIs. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between on-campus and off-campus food availability at two all-women’s institutions in Atlanta, GA. To gain a better understanding of food availability both on-campus and off campus, both dining websites and the Uber

Eats app was used to identify food that is available to students. Tables are used to organize and provide the data that was found from the dining websites and Uber Eats app. The tables also were used to determine whether or not the food options were healthy or unhealthy. Results from this study show that HBCUs are at a food disadvantage due to their location and access to resources. Future implications of this study include HBCUs having healthier food options and on-campus dining options staying open later.

Keywords: Food Availability; College Dining; Food Insecurity; Higher Education; HBCU; PWI; College Nutrition

Engaging Minority Communities through an Evaluation of an Atlanta Community Health Event

Maya Simms | LinkedIn | Poster

A study was conducted to evaluate a community event held by Morehouse School of Medicine’s (MSM) Office of Community Engagement. The annual Community Engagement Day is held to bring community members and partners together with the goal of educating the community on the different health disparities that are most prevalent today. An anonymous survey was sent out to 165 community members and 19 attendees completed it. The attendees came from seven different Georgia

counties and majority ranged from ages 46-66 years old. It was determined that the event was successful and properly educated and entertained the guests that were present. Flaws in advertisement and COVID-19 precautions may have lowered attendance from an expected 300 attendees to approximately 100 guests. This is the first evaluation in place in hopes to improve future events. Other community programs can benefit from the study and use the results to better evaluate their community events. As the community engagement team learns from these results, future event can be tailored to the specific community that MSM serves.

Keywords: Community Engagement; Community Health Event; Public Health; Program Participation

The 2023 PNMs (11).png
Addressing the Autism in the Room: A Content Analysis of the Pervasive Struggles of Black Women with Underdiagnosed or Undiagnosed Autism

Angelise Young | LinkedIn |

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is overlooked and ignored when it comes down to diagnosing Black women with this neurological condition. We know that ASD is commonly diagnosed among children, particularly those under age 18. Furthermore, diagnoses are mostly among white children. That said, among Black adults, especially women, the big question is why is it negatively looked upon in various socio-economical settings? This context analysis will be discussing why ASD is left

undocumented among Black college-aged women and how that affects interpersonal, institutional, and societal perception. Data were collected using secondary analysis of  multiple articles that discuss the lack of statistics involving Black women with ASD, why that is, and how we can do more to emphasize additional needs for this group. Furthermore, photovoice was used to gain a richer first-hand understanding of how Black women with ASD live in a racist and allistic system. 

Keywords: Autism; Black Women; Developmental Disability; Neurological Disorders; Health Disparities; College Health

Maternal & Reproductive Health

Maternal Health
Mama’s Baby, Graduate Maybe: Does Parenting as Teen Impact Women’s Ability to Receive a GED/High School Diploma or College Degree?

Kendall Allen | LinkedIn | Poster

There have been limited studies on how being a teen mother can affect academic achievement and mom’s ability to graduate. Furthermore, there have been fewer studies on the type of diploma attainment. The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between teen pregnancy and mothers’ capacity to receive a GED or high school diploma using data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Survey of Family Growth. The following variables were used: 1) race/ethnicity, 2) age, 3) type

of diploma (GED or high school diploma), 4) age of first birth, 5) college degree status, and 6) premarital birth status. Data files were obtained online all data were input into SPSS 20 for analysis. Frequencies were calculated to investigate the demographic variables. Additionally, the chi-square test statistic was used to assess if there were significant relationships between teen pregnancy and high school diploma attainment, college degree attainment, and premarital birth. Results of this study showed that there was a statistically significant relationship between teen pregnancy and the ability to graduate from both high school and college. Around 55% of the teen mom participants obtained a high school diploma, and around 26% obtained a GED. Further implications of this study include interviewing the participants to assess what was going on during their pregnancy and after (i.e., was there support? did they have to work?) that may have contributed to their decision not to continue their education. Another implication of this study is to give teen moms extra educational and financial support in the form of accessible and culturally relevant programming. Evaluations of such programs could identify unique ways to retain student mothers and usher them to successful high school and college graduations.

Keywords: Unplanned Pregnancy; Teen Mother; GED; Education; Premarital Pregnancy

The Relationship Between Stress and the Diagnosis of Lupus Among Black Women in Their Reproductive Years

Nia Crowley | LinkedIn | Poster

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the body. Lupus disproportionately affects Black women, and the symptoms of Lupus are of more severe than for Black women than other races. Environmental factors and genetics are proposed contributors to the development of lupus, but it is widely accepted that the cause of the disease is unknown. Stress is also a known factor in worsening lupus symptoms and triggering lupus flares. This study seeks to determine the association

between stress and autoimmune conditions among Black women. Data from the 2020 BRFSS questionnaire was used for this study. The final dataset included Black women ages 18-45. The dataset was then analyzed using SPSS, and the chi-square statistic was used to determine the relationship between lupus, mental health status, income level, and education level. Results displayed a significant relationship between both stress and demographic factors (age, marital status, education level, and household income) and the diagnosis of arthritic conditions in Black women in their reproductive years. The results give way for future research to be conducted on different stress management/reduction techniques for Black women and also further expose the need for more black physicians and culturally competent physicians.

Keywords: Lupus; Stress; Autoimmune Diseases; Arthritis; Mental Health; Black Women; Health Disparities

Ready to Pop?: An Comparison of Availability of Pre- and Post-natal Care between Black and White Neighborhoods in Atlanta, Georgia

Cobe M. Crowder | LinkedIn | Poster

Maternal morbidity and mortality are ongoing problems among Black women; however, few studies have explored how accessibility to health care providers might impact these rates. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to compare the number of health care locations in Black neighborhoods versus those in the predominantly white neighborhoods of Atlanta, Georgia in order to connect the accessibility to health care providers to the rate of maternal mortality. To conduct the analysis, the researchers

conducted an extensive online search to identify the number of OB/GYN offices,midwives, physician offices, and emergency departments in a predominantly white area of Atlanta (Buckhead) and a predominantly Black area (West Atlanta). Results from this study show that predominantly white neighborhoods have more access to health care providers than predominantly Black neighborhoods. Implications include further contributing to poor pre- and post-natal health among Black women that could lead to poor maternal and/or infant health outcomes. Additional research in the form of interviews from people in both neighborhoods to get their opinion on the connection between maternal mortality and visiting the doctor is needed to better understand how to improve both access and quality to pregnancy care.

Keywords: Maternal Mortality; Health Care Providers; Black Neighborhoods; Environmental Health; Structural Racism; Health Disparities; Women’s Health

An Exploration of the Effect of Air Pollutants Emitted from Power Plants on Maternal Outcomes Through ArcGIS Mapping

Kyla Earles | LinkedIn | Poster

Poor air quality is a factor that is known to cause adverse health outcomes. Studies have shown that pollutants emitted from power plants are linked to various health conditions including, but not limited to, cancer, poor cardiovascular health, and serious respiratory problems. Few research studies have examined the effect of these hazardous chemicals on pregnant women. The present study aims to explore the negative maternal health outcomes caused by air pollutants emitted by power plants and

addressing the gap in this area of research. Research questions for the current study were: 1) What effect, if any, do air pollutants emitted from power plants have on pregnant women?; 2) How can the connection between the negative health outcomes and air pollution be traced?; and 3) How prevalent is this problem in Fulton County, Georgia? ArcGIS mapping was used to layer maternal health in Atlanta, Georgia with proximity to power plants and their respective wattages. The data collected was based off all live births in Fulton County from the years 2017-2021, focusing on low birth weight and pre-term births with other exclusionary factors. The number of pre-term and low weight births was determined by using the OASIS maternal health tool. The tri-layered map indicated residential proximity to power plants with relatively low wattages and pollutant emittance. Pre-term and low weight births in Atlanta was relatively high. Air quality in Atlanta was found to be above the annual guidance, according to the World Health Organization. Proximity to power plants has a negative effect on maternal health outcomes including low birth weight and pre-term births. However, based on the research conducted, this problem is not extremely prevalent in Atlanta, Georgia.

Keywords: ArcGIS; Pollution; OASIS; Air Quality; Maternal Health Outcomes; Pre-term; Power Plants; Mapping

Using PRAMS Data to Explore How Rurality in Georgia Affects Expecting Women’s Ability to Receive Quality Prenatal Care

Jaleese Holt | LinkedIn | Poster

Infant mortality has been an Americans health crisis for the past few decades, disproportionately affecting minority communities and those who without equal access to quality healthcare. Few studies have investigated the relationship between rurality (by county population) and access to maternal healthcare; therefore, the purpose of this study was to analyze the access to pregnancy-related healthcare in the six most rural counties in the State of Georgia. The present study was conducted

using data from the Prevalence of Selected Maternal and Child Health Indicators surveys conducted by the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) and information from the Georgia Census on women who had a live birth from the years 2017-2020. Four variables were used to label risk (nutrition, pre-pregnancy weight, substance use, and prenatal healthcare received in the first trimester), using the available PRAMS data in combination to the Georgia census and a frequency table for analysis. Results show that there is high level of risks associated with the mothers in Georgia due to the percentages of the variables measured. This study revealed that there are gaps in healthcare access for expecting mothers in the rural counties. With the help of intervention programs and the targeted recruitment of minority physicians, it is expected that women could have safer pregnancies and close the gaps in racial, ethnic, and geographic maternal mortality rate disparities.

Keywords: Maternal Mortality; Health Care Providers; Rural Health; PRAMS; Environmental Health; Structural Racism; Health Disparities; Women’s Health

Investigating the Relationship Between The Low Levels Of Access To Quality Care For Minority Women and Postpartum Depression

Miriam Olajide | LinkedIn | Poster

African American and Hispanic women are more likely to experience postpartum depression (PPD) symptoms after childbirth sooner than white women. Despite this clear disparity, many minorities facing PPD are often provided with little to no quality care. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to analyze the quality of care that minority women with PPD received. We used a series of questionnaires with baseline data to determine whether women who have experienced PPD have received immediate

 care. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to analyze the quality of care that minority women with PPD received. We used a series of questionnaires with baseline data to determine whether women who have experienced PPD have received immediate care, as well as evaluating other pregnancy-related problems in minority women. Seventy percent of minority women reported having difficulty with activity while pregnant, and a staggering 835 participants reported pregnancy-related issues over a span of two weeks. Black and Latina women make up the lowest percentage of treatment initiation after PPD (0.3% or 4%) and the lowest percentage for continued care. These findings suggest that poor access to quality care may strongly correlate with PPD in minority women.


Keywords: Postpartum depression; Maternal Healthcare; Minority Health; Postnatal Health

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