Both in and out of the classroom, College of Public Health students are fighting infant mortality and maternal and fetal health through prevention and action around the world.
Here are five undergraduate College of Public Health students working to save lives one mother and child at a time.
Sarah Hatcher, BSPH ’19
I’m spending my semester working on research regarding women’s autonomy and its effects on spousal abuse in sub-Saharan Africa. This type of work is especially important to global health. When looking at developing countries, improving women’s education and opportunities not only results in healthier women, but also healthier children.
My main goal from this work is to gain a better understanding of the research process and to improve upon my skills in data analysis. I graduate in May and plan to take a year off to work and utilize the knowledge I’ve gained through this capstone.
Farhiya Abdulrahman, BSPH ’19
African American women are 1.5 times more likely to have preterm birth compared with non-Hispanic white women. Infants born prematurely are more likely to experience developmental delays and adverse health outcomes. As a research student studying the biosocial impact on black infants, I have learned how to better understand data analysis and interpretation, along with learning how to effectively and genuinely communicate with research participants.
With my work in this research study, I hope to continue to learn more about the causes and solutions to this major issue. No women, regardless of race or ethnicity, should have to worry about preterm birth.
Julia Engel, BSPH ’19
I am an undergraduate research assistant in Gur Laboratory at Ohio State’s Institute of Behavioral Medicine. The laboratory seeks to understand the contribution of maternal mental illness on the psychiatric outcomes in offspring. Using mice models, we examine the biological effect of many of the determinants of health that I am learning about in my public health courses.
During fall semester I researched the impact of stress and exercise exposure in mice offspring brains. I have learned a lot about the changes stress can cause at a cellular level and genetically travel from mothers to children.
Kerry Jamieson, BSPH ’19
Many cases of fetal and infant deaths are preventable. One of the most immediate ways to prevent these deaths is by providing a safe sleep environment for babies. As an intern in the Maternal and Child Health Department at Columbus Public Health, I worked directly with the Fetal Infant Mortality Review Program, the Child Fatality Review Program and the Cribs4Kids Program to prevent premature infant deaths.
I have seen first-hand how many factors can affect life outcomes and have learned real-life solutions and recommendations to diminish disparities. This position has solidified my desire to enter the workforce in a community health position.
Aminat Adewumi, BSPH ’19
I completed my research project, ‘Maternal Exposure to Racial Discrimination and Risk for Low Birth Weight,’ in Columbus at the Stress, Behavioral Immunology, and Health Disparities research lab. It focused on the connection between racial discrimination-related stress as a psychosocial stressor and infant birth outcomes. I found pregnant minority women who reported higher levels of every day racial discrimination were more likely to give birth to low birth-weight infants.
I believe the public health need to combat these inequalities is great, especially in Columbus, where black infants are 2.5 times more likely to die within their first year of life than their white counterparts. Further research on stress and racial discrimination-related stress faced by mothers is crucial to improve these birth disparities.