Nursing is a calling and develops after a strong desire to lead people toward well-being. Over the past five years, I have been privileged to assist moms and babies during the most empowering event of their lives: childbirth. As a lifelong learner, I felt compelled to become a researcher, close the clinical research gap that persists, and translate literature into clinical practice changes. My unique academic experiences have provided me with a diverse background with which to pursue my doctoral education. I chose to enhance my undergraduate biology studies with psychology, leading to a focused biobehavioral discipline. Later, I focused on maternal-child nursing receiving a MSN specializing in nurse-midwifery. Working with high poverty rates and women with poor health awareness, I developed an interest in identifying chemical risk factors adversely affecting pregnant women and children. A building body of literature is exposing environmental toxicants to be harmful in pregnancy perturbing the gut microbiome. Emerging data states environmental toxicants are possibly linked to neurological delays in the developing fetus. I plan to expand this literature by investigating the how exogenous toxicants perturb the normalcy of a pregnant microbiome potentiating poor mental health outcomes. While at Emory, I have been building foundational research skills in data collection, management, analysis, and dissemination. Specifically, I am privileged to work with a large birth cohort living in urban Atlanta and with vulnerable occupational groups across Florida. Working with multidisciplinary teams has given me the experience and skills I need to be a successful research scientist.
Research/Clinical Practice Area: Jonas Nurse Leader – Women’s and Children’s Health
Dissertation: The mediations of the gut microbiome between environmental toxicant exposures and perinatal depression