Research

My inquisitive nature has lent itself well to a career where I am able to not only ask questions but also search for answers. My research projects have been guided by my interest in women's health and passion for working to ensure equitable access to quality healthcare for all women. 

Relationships between adolescent pregnancy, income inequality, and depression from a panel study in South Africa from 2013-2017

Factors affecting early identification of pregnant women by community health workers in Morogoro, Tanzania

Factors associated with unmet need for contraceptives among sexually active young women aged 15-22 in Niger

Women's involvement in UNRWA family planning services: a study of Palestinian refugees in Jordan

Relationships between adolescent pregnancy, income inequality, and depression from a panel study in South Africa from 2013-2017

Using data from the National Income Dynamics Study, I conducted a longitudinal analysis investigating the potential effects of adolescent pregnancy and income inequality on depression among adolescent women in South Africa. 

A systematic review of the literature was conducted prior to data analysis to understand the context of the field. Searching PubMed and PsychInfo, MeSH terms were used to conduct an exhaustive search of the literature on the three permutations of relationships at play in this study: adolescent pregnancy and income inequality, income inequality and depression, and adolescent pregnancy and depression. 

Using robust standard error regressions, I created models investigating these relationships with both the outcomes of binary incident depression and continuous depression severity. Comparing the two outcomes allowed for more depth of discussion. 

It was found that adolescent pregnancy was associated with an increase in depressive symptoms, however, it was not associated with incident depression. Income inequality did not demonstrate any significance with either incident depression or depression severity. 

Findings are currently being written up  for submission to the American Journal of Epidemiology. 

Factors associated with unmet need for contraceptives among sexually active young women aged 15-22 in Niger

I used data from the 2012 DHS in Niger to investigate factors associated with non-use of contraceptives among young women. It was hypothesised that child marriage, as well as other related factors, would be significant. 

The analysis for this project is ongoing, however, in an initial logistic regression, marital status was not found to be significant. Number of children, age at first sex, and age at first birth were all found to be significantly related to unmet need. Further refinements of this logistic model as well as spacial analyses are currently being done. 

Preliminary findings from this study were presented as a poster at the 2019 Wits School of Public Health Research Day. 

Factors affecting early identification of pregnant women by community health workers in Morogoro, Tanzania 

I analysed semi-structured focus groups from the Morogoro Evaluation Project (a project focusing on maternal and child health in the region) for this study. 10 semi-structured focus groups with women and community health workers were analysed via a thematic approach.

Several themes were found and synthesised in a model to better understand challenges community health workers face in engaging with women in their communities. I worked with my faculty supervisor and partners at the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences in Dar es Salam to construct this model. 

In collaboration with our Tanzanian partners, this study was published in BMC Public Health in 2019. 

Women's involvement in UNRWA family planning services: a study of Palestinian refugees in Jordan

During my study abroad program in Amman, Jordan, I worked with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) to investigate women's perceived level of self-agency with regards to accessing family planning services at UNRWA clinics. 

For this study, I conducted a review of the literature to refine my research objectives, then worked with an Arabic translator to design an interview guide. With the help of my translator I conducted six semi-structured interviews with clients at the clinic and one provider. Further, I collected material culture in the form of brochures from the clinic. 

Interviews and material culture were analysed for themes. It was found that those interviewed felt they had sufficient control of their reproductive decisions and that they felt empowered by the services at the UNRWA clinics. 

This study was completed as a requirement for the SIT Jordan: Community Health and Development study abroad program and a write up can be found at the SIT website