Student Researchers Receive PEAK Awards for Fall 2020

Eight student researchers and Health Equity Interns were awarded PEAK Experiences Awards for fall 2020. The Institute would like to celebrate the ongoing work our undergraduate researchers are doing alongside our Faculty and Faculty Scholars. Project descriptions and more information on our students can be found below.

Catherine Henning, Bouvé’23, “Drug-Induced Homicides: The Solution or the Problem?”
Mentor: Professor Leo Beletsky, Health Sciences

Cate will analyze a dataset of drug induced homicide (DIH) prosecutions and research changes in DIH policies in order to better understand the relationship between public health policy and drug overdoses and whether or not past DIH laws have successfully reduced the number of drug overdoses in the United States.

Gal Nissan

Gal Nissan, Bouvé’22, “The Longitudinal Effects of Body Image Concerns on  Health Outcomes”
Mentor: Professor Rachel Rodgers, Psychology

Body image concerns are highly prevalent and associated with significant impairment. To date, the extant data examining the longitudinal impact of body image concerns on health outcomes has not been summarized. The aim of her project is therefore to examine the longitudinal associations between body image constructs and various psychological and behavioral health outcomes. A pool of studies has been identified as meeting inclusion criteria and will now be finalized before undergoing data extraction. Gal and her team anticipate the outcomes, to be shared at RISE, will show that body image concerns have a wide range of physical and emotional effects on health.

Cullen Bober, Bouvé’21, “Exploring DIH Charges and Carceral Budgets”
Mentor: Professor Leo Beletsky, Health Sciences

Cullen’s project seeks to explore the relationship, if any, between a locality and prevalence of drug-induced homicide charges and the locality’operating budget, focusing specifically on carceral versus health and support spending. DIH charges are increasingly being used and public attention has recently turned to how governments are spending their money. Cullen will be collecting data on individual DIH charges and government budgets where DIH charges are occurring most and least frequently. Cullen will then compare the relationships between the two with graphs and visuals. Finally, Cullen will discuss the relationships and what their policy implications may be.

Meghna Iyer, Bouvé’22, “Improving Guardrail Damage Reporting to Promote Injury Prevention in Motor Vehicle Accidents”
Mentor: Professor Alisa Lincoln, Health Sciences

Road traffic injuries are the third leading cause of death this year. Guardrails are elements of roads that promote safety, but they require a more encompassing reporting system to repair damages that accrue with subsequent crashes to function. Meghna’s project will utilize key-informant interviews with experts to gain an understanding of the current reporting mechanisms and analyze crash data to determine if there are factors that correlate with reported and unreported damages in guardrails. The project seeks to create recommendations to improve the reporting mechanisms of damaged guardrails and obtain national adherence to it to ensure safety for all.

Kenadi Kaewmanaprasert, Bouvé’24, “Influence of Documentation Status and Race on Immigrant Healthcare Access”
Mentor: Professor Tiffany Joseph, Sociology and Anthropology

Kenadi will be working with Professor Tiffany Joseph who has a research project examining how health and immigration policies at the state and federal level affect immigrants’ access to health care. Kenadi will draw from interviews with healthcare providers to explore how documentation status and race shape patient-provider interactions. By the end of the semester, Kenadi intends to write a literature review of her findings and create a RISE presentation. She hopes to increase her awareness on the barriers that immigrant communities face in obtaining health care and find possible solutions to increase their coverage and access.

Rayna Haque, Bouvé’22, “A Qualitative Review of Mental Health and Exposure to Violence in Resettled Refugees”
Mentor: Professor Carmel Salhi, Health Sciences

This project is a qualitative systematic review of the relationship between mental health and exposure to violence in resettled refugees. While prior research has been done on how violence pre-migration affects refugees, little has been done to see the impact violence can have on resettled individuals, especially for those resettling in high-income countries. Their work will use existing research databases to gather research and analyze this work through a qualitative lens, hoping to establish the relationship between resettled refugees, violence exposure, and mental health outcomes.

Shurobhi Nandi

Shurobhi Nandi, COS’22, “Improving Access to Early Childhood Mental Health Services in Child Welfare”
Mentor: Professor Beth Molnar, Health Sciences

Early intervention in young children with mental health challenges is important as mental health challenges have been shown to put young children at a higher risk of heart problems, depression, poverty, incarceration, and homelessness along the life course. Yet, there is a dearth of literature on better understanding perspectives on early childhood mental health in child welfare for young children. Through this project, Shurobhi hopes to better understand the broader context of mental health services access for very young children and families in child welfare through the lens of stakeholders participating in the FIRST SOC project.

Winnie Li, Bouvé’21, “Digital Media Use and Mental Health in College Students”
Mentor: Professor Lichuan Ye, Nursing

Digital and social media use has been on the rise in college students, affecting their physical, mental, and social well-being. This study aims to explore the impact that social media has on college students’ daily lives and mental health, including social isolation. Participants will be recruited to participate in an online survey and focus group. Data and content analyses will then be run to further understand the phenomenon in this population. Findings will be presented at research conferences such as RISE and disseminated to university-level advising to better address digital media usage and mental health in college students.

The PEAK Awards are funded by the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships, a progressively structured sequence of opportunities designed to support learners as they continue climbing to new heights of achievement in undergraduate research and creative endeavor throughout their Northeastern journeys. From the beginner surveying the landscape with a Campfire Chat or establishing a Base Camp, to those gaining experience while making the Ascent and Building Bridges, to those reaching the Summit, Blazing new Trails, and Shouting Out their successes, the PEAK Experiences Awards offer something for everyone.