Research in Community Health focuses on the concrete, experiential outcomes of social inequality. The researchers in this group used qualitative and quantitative data to track the impact of gender and immigration status on a range of experiences, from career satisfaction to education to physical and mental health. While their findings outline depressingly familiar contours of inequality, they also insistently focus on the ways communities can and do thrive and find resilience even in the midst of systematic inequality.
In her oral presentation, “Measuring Assimilation Beyond Earnings,” Nidhi Rao (IR/Spanish, A2020) uses survey data to find more qualitative measures for satisfaction among Mexican immigrants in San Antonio and LA. She asks people understand their own “success,” and what happens when we open our understanding of success to extend beyond income level to factors like education level, age, gender, and location.
Leticia Rocha (Psychology A2020) created a poster titled: “Understanding Health Priorities, Behaviors, and Service Utilization among Brazilian Immigrant Women: Implications for Designing Community-Based Interventions.” In her thesis research, Rocha used interviews to determine what health priorities were among Brazilian immigrant women, an understudied population. She concluded that mental health, occupational health, and domestic violence were top concerns, especially since fear over their immigration status often caused greater mental and interpersonal strife as well as making women fearful to seek help. Churches and social media were presented as possible areas for intervention and support.
Ashley Benitez (Community Health, A2020), in her poster titled, “Understanding the Experiences of Somerville Youth within Somerville Public Schools,” uses qualitative data to understand the reasons behind the gap in graduation rates between English language learners and native speakers in Somerville public schools.
In “Understanding the Experiences of Immigrant Families within the Somerville Education System.” a group of 13 students from CH 130 used a CBPR approach (determining all elements of the research design in partnership with community stakeholders) to interview parents about their experiences with the Somerville public schools in order to determine what was and wasn’t working and to identify potential interventions. Finally, Claire Pernat’s oral presentation “The influence of county-level gender inequality on gender differences in bariatric surgery” examines the impact of gender inequality on elective surgery. While rates of obesity between men and women are roughly equal, women make up nearly 80% of the patients who undergo bariatric surgery. Pernat mapped the different rates of bariatric surgery in New York state onto measures of gender inequality as determined by the UN and found that the greater the rate of inequality, the higher the gender gap in the rate of bariatric surgery.