Contraceptive Calendar

Contraceptive Calendar

Our team seeks to understand how conflict impacts contraceptive use using data from Sub-Saharan African countries. More specifically, we are looking at trends in contraceptive use for women in the time preceding, during, and following the conflict period--to do so, we are utilizing geocoded data for sub-Saharan Africa from the Uppsala Conflict Dataset and contraceptive calendar data from the Demographic and Health Surveys. This research has important implications for women’s health: firstly, it can help us understand the demographic consequences of conflict on family planning, births, and outcomes, and secondly, it can help inform policy interventions that can target and improve reproductive health in humanitarian settings. We are personally interested in this project because, collectively, our team is passionate about understanding health inequities and empowering women by leveraging policy as a tool. Participation in this project can help to provide us a foundational understanding of how conflict interacts with women’s reproductive autonomy in a way that gives us independent research...
Read More

Natural Language Processing Group

We are the Natural Language Processing group from the Big Data for Reproductive Health Bass Connections team. Our names are Lynne Wang, Foxx Hart, Alexandra Lawrence, and Neha Shrishail. Currently, we are working through “Text Mining with R” to gain a better understanding of text mining, sentiment analysis, and topic modeling. Additionally, we are examining the stigma summary scale as well as other texts related to stigma to form a solid foundation on the resources at hand. We are interested in this project for the opportunity to learn new technical and project management skills, as well as dive deeper into the emerging interdisciplinary space between quantitative machine learning and qualitative social science research. We’re especially excited to apply these methods to an important area in global reproductive health. At the end of our research, we hope to become proficient in using natural language processing and gain a better understanding of how it can be applied to future projects....
Read More

Analyzing access to modern contraception and understanding reproductive rights among women with intellectual and developmental disabilities in North Carolina: A mixed methods study

The reproductive health needs of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs) have been historically overlooked. Despite having an equal or greater chance of pregnancy, women with IDDs face significant barriers to accessing contraception. Publicly available survey data exclude individuals who live in institutional settings or require communication assistance, and little is known about the landscape of sexual and reproductive health services within residential facilities. To address these gaps, this Bass Connections Student Research Award project aims to analyze differences in access to and use of contraceptive services among women of reproductive age in North Carolina, as well as understand offerings, needs, facilitators, and barriers relating to contraception within public and private residential facilities. Linear regression and clustering techniques will be applied to a robust Medicaid claims dataset to evaluate contraceptive insertion, surveillance, and removal by disability status. In addition, in-depth interviews will be conducted with administrators, clinicians, and social workers at six residential facilities in North Carolina. The final...
Read More

Note from Lauren Mitchell, Director of the Working Group for Sexual and Reproductive Health

During the Spring 2021 semester, the Working Group for Sexual and Reproductive Health grew its community of over 115 students, researchers, and advocates working across the SRH field through programming events, the Mentorship Program, and email newsletters. After being founded in the fall of 2019 by Saumya Sao, a Duke 2020 graduate, its goals of building a collaborative community, fostering relationships, and eliminating barriers to entry into SRH research for students were temporarily put on hold due to COVID-19. However, on March 19, the Working Group hosted 13 speakers at a virtual SRH Research Symposium, highlighting the work being done in the Triangle area and connecting students to potential opportunities for engagement. Speakers presented their current research across four themed areas—Digital Health and Data Science, Mental Health, Family Planning, and Innovations in HIV Care—and shared insight on how students can engage with the SRH field, both at Duke and beyond. Additionally, the SRH Advocacy Panel event on April 16 featured...
Read More

Reflection on Contraceptive Product Development and Introduction Panel

During one of Duke’s wellness days, Kate Rademacher and Rebecca Callahan from FHI 360 presented the work being done at FHI 360 related to contraceptive development and accessibility/ acceptability in low- to middle- income countries (LMIC). As a part of FHI 360’s Contraceptive Technology Innovation Team and a public health scientist, Rebecca Callahan researches new contraceptive methods and product availability; As a technical director for the LEAP Initiative for FHI 360, Kate Rademacher supports the development of long-active contraceptives for low resources settings. At the start of the panel, Dr. Callahan introduced the research being done in FHI 360, exploring different forms of existing contraceptives and how they differ in use world-wide. Notably, she focuses on contraceptive usage in LMIC and discusses how for contraceptives to be properly received by these populations, they must have qualities like “safe and effective”, “discreet”, “low cost”, etc. Because contraceptive development is not as profitable for larger pharmaceutical companies, FHI 360 engages research for the...
Read More
Student Spotlight: Ema Kuczura and Sarah Hubner

Student Spotlight: Ema Kuczura and Sarah Hubner

As we just finished the end of the spring semester, we wanted to highlight the work of two of our talented students: Ema Kuczura and Sarah Hubner. Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.  Ema: I am originally from Chicago, IL. I recently graduated Duke where I majored in Public Policy and Global Health. I am a member of the Duke Women's Rowing team where I am finishing up my last season. While at Duke, I also participated in the Rubenstein-Bing Athlete Civic Engagement program, served as Co-President of the One Love student club, and served on the executive board of Duke SHAPE (Sexual Harassment and Assault Prevention and Education). Sarah: I am originally from Long Island, New York. I studied Political Science with a concentration in Security Peace, and Conflict and Global Health, and pursued a Markets and Management Studies Certificate. I have long been interested in the intersection of US foreign policy and economic development on health outcomes among marginalized populations...
Read More
Economic Sanctions and Maternal Mortality

Economic Sanctions and Maternal Mortality

As this academic year comes to a close, so does my two-year tenure as the Duke Global Health Institute Doctoral Scholar working with the Center for Global Reproductive Health. I have been so fortunate to be mentored by Dr. Huchko and the staff both here in Durham and in Kisumu. A true highlight has been collaborating with community partners as well as undergrads and grad students here at Duke. Pei-Yu Wei, another PhD student and I started a project investigating the impact of economic sanctions on women’s rights and maternal mortality, which we recently had the opportunity to present at a national conference and two academic workshops. Economic sanctions are policy instruments used to influence the behavior of another international actor. While generally a less harmful method for countries to settle disputes compared to military force, sanctions still have the ability to adversely affect the civilian population in the targeted state. Much research has been done on the negative consequences of...
Read More

The Implications of the Newest Wave of Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis and Testing on Global Inequality

In 1997, the film Gattaca was released and while it was not a commercial success, it did raise questions about the future of genetic technology. The movie predicted a dystopian future in which eugenics dictate the futures of humankind – those who are genetically “superior” rule over those who have less desirable genetic traits. In the movie this is done through a procedure where parents pick their embryos based on their genes prior to implantation (Maslin).  In reality, Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis and Testing (PGD/T) has been around for almost 40 years. It involves the testing of genetic material from the blastula of a developing embryo that is external to the body (to be later implanted using embryo transfer). It is an extra step during the process of In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF), which begins with egg retrieval and sperm retrieval from both parents, and then fertilization occurs external to the womb to create an embryo. After the embryo reaches a certain size, a small number of cells are...
Read More
Faculty Spotlight: Sara LeGrand or Liz Turner selected as part of WomenLift Health’s 2021 Global Leadership Journey cohort

Faculty Spotlight: Sara LeGrand or Liz Turner selected as part of WomenLift Health’s 2021 Global Leadership Journey cohort

Sara LeGrand Serving as an Associate Research Professor of Global Health and as the co-director of the Duke Sexual and Gender Minority Health Program, Sara LeGrand has done incredible work in exploring health care disparities worldwide through her research and her teaching. Across her 10 years at Duke, Dr. LeGrand’s research has investigated HIV prevention & disparities among sexual and gender minorities and developed digital health interventions to improve antiretroviral adherence. Her research on sexual and gender minorities also explores social determinants of health that affect mental, physical, and social health outcomes globally. Recently, Dr. LeGrand has recently been published in the International Journal of Transgender Health in the study “Mental health and challenges of transgender women: A qualitative study in Brazil and India”, exploring the lived experiences of transgender women in low - and middle - income countries with high rates of transphobia and gender-based violence.   Elizabeth Turner In her work as the Director of Duke Global Health Institute’s Research and Design...
Read More
Challenges to Maternal Mental Health During the COVID-19 Crisis

Challenges to Maternal Mental Health During the COVID-19 Crisis

The current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has devastated communities across the United States since early this spring and continues to do so on a global scale. The impact on maternal health and welfare, and by extension child health has not been lost on mothers across the world. Hospitals have closed their doors to visitors and accompanying loved ones for those seeking healthcare – victims of COVID-19 fight alone and too often succumb to the illness without their primary emotional support systems, but rather in isolated rooms with little human contact. In the case of pregnant and expectant mothers, this means potentially giving birth alone. These women are now also kept in isolation rooms, away from their families and loved ones, and surrounded by healthcare workers masked in personal protective equipment – a far cry from the societal norms previously established and long withstanding (Hermann, Fitelson, & Bergink, 2020). This newfound isolation and the impact of the pandemic extends to reaching antenatal care and...
Read More