Research by Faculty Member on Access to Health Care for Women Published in National Journal

In recent years, various research studies have been published on the disparities in health care for black and Hispanic / Latin women. However, Rapp says she intended to shine a light on the gender and race intersections at play in healthcare, which is often overlooked by analysts.

“This is the first research that documents the disproportionate impact that these state-level policies and practices have on women of color,” said Rapp. “When we think of women’s health, we often forget to consider how gender might interact with race and ethnicity to impact health in ways that are unique to certain groups. ”

In addition to publishing his findings in the American Journal of Public Health, this research, which Rapp conducted for several years, is also published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior and the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, achievements that, according to her, are still “settling down. in.”

“I’m delighted that our work is featured in a major public health outlet,” Rapp says. “I really didn’t expect this at the start of this research, but having three posts in a year is more than exciting. Work in a small liberal arts college and be published by [the American Journal of Public Health] isn’t as common as big research universities have all kinds of resources, but it’s very exciting for myself, my staff and Roanoke College.

Rapp is particularly proud of this work, as she hopes the results will help lawmakers craft women-focused policy changes that are more consistent across states, a major factor contributing to limited access to health care. health care for women of color.

One of the ways Rapp hopes to indirectly influence these policy changes is to bring this research into his classroom. Rapp says his teaching “focuses heavily” on examining health care disparities based on race, gender, and class, among other factors, to open his students’ minds for reflection. on health care beyond an individualistic perspective.

“It’s important to see that research has an impact on how we think about societal problems and their solutions,” says Rapp. “We’re not going to solve the world’s problems with research alone, but research is an important and necessary part of the conversation. This allows us to develop evidence-based approaches to address health inequalities and achieve social justice. I try to incorporate these practices into the classroom as often as possible.

Rapp’s students seem to be listening. Roanoke College graduates Tabitha L. Hale ’20 and Dominique F. Quartararo ’20, co-authors of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior article, played a key role in developing the analysis of the published work. .

“I had mentioned this work in class, and both expressed interest in being part of the research,” Rapp says. “We all worked really well together and I really appreciated that they were part of the process because they brought enthusiasm and new ideas to the research process. ”

As a follow-up to this research, Rapp enlisted the help of current students at Roanoke College to analyze how state political contexts shape the physical and mental health of populations with diverse and intersecting social identities. The “fundamental questions we ask are driven by student interest,” says Rapp.

“A lot of what I do in the classroom is teach through inquiry,” she says. “It’s a great way to apply what we’re learning in the classroom to real-world social issues. It is really through my teaching that I further developed my personal research axis.

Rapp, a faculty member at Roanoke College since 2017, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology from Rutgers University. She went on to obtain a master’s and a doctorate. in Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, focusing his academic research on the relationships between social, economic and political contexts and disparities in health and health care.

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