The Women’s Health Research Team — College of Charleston

The Women’s Health Research Team — College of Charleston


-[Voiceover] One thing
that Dr. Sundstrom and I have put together at the
College of Charleston is the women’s
health research team. We have taken
interdisciplinary approach to understanding
women’s health issues. Through our
collaborations we have developed a research
team which is currently composed of she
and myself and then nine undergraduate
research assistants who have an interest
in women’s health. We meet probably twice
a month to talk about women’s health issues
and we train the students in qualitative and
quantitative research. And after their training,
they are able to participate in data
collection, data analysis, and even manuscript writing. -[Voiceover] I was a
second author on one of the papers that we’re trying
to get published this year, which is really cool
and you don’t always get that opportunity. And so they really
let us be hands-on, and then we get to interact with all the other students as well. – [Voiceover] We’re
all kind of approaching women’s health from
multiple disciplines, and that’s really what
the point of this team is, to bring in all these
different viewpoints and people from different
backgrounds and really try to improve the
health of women. – [Beth] This team
involves faculty and undergraduate and graduate
students as well as local physicians and
collaborators from local non-profit and national
non-profit organizations. So we really are
creating a robust network that we can really
address some of these public health problems
that we are looking into. – [Annalise] In a typical
meeting we talk about all the different
projects we have going on, because often it’s
one or two students working on each project. And so we are able to learn
about all the projects that we’re not involved
in and also share our experiences about our own. We also are able to
collaborate on the research projects and the
papers with other students, which really brings
in other perspectives ’cause we’re all different
majors and it really helps to get that rounded
out perspective on all the research that
we’re doing as a team. – [Andrea] Right now
we are developing a long-acting and reversible
contraceptive campaign to increase awareness,
and we are hopeful that some of our work,
some of our campaigning, some of our programming
can result in lower rates of unintended pregnancy
in Charleston women and women throughout
South Carolina. – [Annalise] The research
that we started last year was about women’s
perceptions of contraception and that was really
interesting because that has really broad implications
for, you know, for doctors trying to
prescribe these things and for health campaigns,
and so we really just found out what they thought
of different things, what they knew about
different options, especially with long-term
contraceptive options, and it was really interesting
to see what they knew and what they wanted to know and what was important
to them about it. – [Beth] This problem
that we’re addressing has real relevance on
campus for these women who are conducting
the research today. So what I think is
great about this project and about addressing
contraceptive access is that we can really
make a difference in our local community
and students can see first-hand the difference
that public health research can make in addressing
a public health problem at the local as well
as national level. These students are interested in going on to various careers. So if some of them
want to get a Ph.D. in public health but
others want to be doctors and OB-GYNs, and so
this group has really filled a need on campus
allowing students the opportunity to be trained
in research methods and to conduct real,
original research. So students have gone on to have a number of opportunities. They’ve presented
posters both on campus at local and
regional conferences, they’ve submitted manuscripts
to national journals, and they’ve had an
opportunity to present their research to academics as well as practical audiences. This group has allowed
students to get credit through mechanisms such
as independent studies, and Bachelor’s essays,
and has provided an opportunity for students
to apply and be successful in getting SURF Grants. These are grants for
summer undergraduate research with faculty. – [Annalise I got the
SURF Grant last year, and it allowed me to
work on the research for the women’s
health research team over the summer full-time,
which allowed me to really be more focused on it. And I was transcribing,
analyzing, and helping write the paper. And it was really awesome
to get paid for it ’cause then I could
really focus on it. I didn’t have to have
another job during the summer and it allowed me to
stay here and do that.

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