Yetunde is a trainee at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Currently, she has joined a team working on a project assessing health outcomes of women and girls of color in sanctuary cities. In this blog post, she has introduced her team’s plan for this project. Future blog post(s) will continue to document her progress and results.
Protecting the Health of Women and Girls of Color in Sanctuary Cities: A Public Health Perspective
Current immigration policies and climate have had several negative impacts on families and communities. These include fears of the system impacting health seeking behavior, barriers to access to health care, and increased stress, fear, and anxiety. The purpose of this project is to increase awareness of the public health impact that immigration policies have on the health of women and girls of color, and to document the potential of sanctuary cities as safety nets to ensure the well-being of families and communities.
Our research team plans to conduct a community-based participatory needs assessment, and collaborate with a local agency and community members to develop a policy brief and factsheets. The agency we are partnering with is the Saint Paul and Ramsey County Domestic Abuse Intervention Project (SPIP). The content and message of these factsheets will be determined by the women and girls involved in this project.
We will be focusing on several different outcomes while working with SPIP. These include specific birth outcomes such as low birth weight, preterm births, and infant mortality.
We also plan to focus on mental health in reports of stress, anxiety, depression, and the effects of bullying among school-aged children. We will research the effects of substance abuse and suicide among adolescents. Depression among mothers will be evaluated as well. This aspect of the project is especially interesting to me, as I have a passion for raising mental health awareness among pregnant and postpartum women. I am also excited for the opportunity to work with women and girls of color, as the health of this population is often overlooked.
Another aspect of the project will be investigating food access and the awareness, participation, and utilization of food assistance programs such as WIC, food pantries, and other services available for these populations. I am looking forward to using my background in dietetics to further evaluate the effect of food and nutrition on the women and children at SPIP.
Being a part of this project inspires me to work to improve the health outcomes of these women and children, and to be a voice for them.
-Yetunde Akingbemi, MCH Trainee, University of Minnesota