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Project Overview

The Healthy SISTAH project seeks to understand how black women’s perceptions of healthcare and the medical field impact their sexual health.

  1. Establish best practices for use in recruiting Black female participants for studies of sexual health and healthcare.
  2. Identify barriers to gynecological healthcare of heterosexual Black women, ages 18-29, enrolled in a college or university in the Southern United States.

Black women’s sexual and reproductive health is a major public health concern in America. Black women have the highest rates of infertility, unintended pregnancy, preterm labor, and several sexually transmitted infections. Black women also have higher rates of mortality linked to child delivery, cervical cancer, and breast cancer (The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 2018). Given the racial and gendered aspects associated with health disparities, it is vital to contextualize this issue by examining psychosocial barriers to black women’s sexual and gynecological healthcare. Many factors create challenges to gynecological healthcare, including financial disparities, institutional concerns, and disparate access to transportation (National Partnership for Women & Families, 2017). Another major concern is the shortage of black women in health-care research (Perez-Stable 2018); the result is that, in many cases, gynecological interventions and practices do not adequately address the needs and concerns of Black women.