The Healthy SISTAH Project stands for social impacts on sexual truths and health, a study focused on understanding black women’s perspectives of health care and its relation to their sexual health.
The project focuses on hetereosexual black female participants between the ages of 18-29 that attend N.C. A&T or UNC-Chapel Hill.
Lead by three professors : Dr.Jeanette Wade, assistant professor and sociologist, and Dr. Sharon Parker, associate professor and health disparities researcher, are two N.C. A&T professors involved in the study. While Dr. Helyne Frederick, clinical associate professor, is a UNC- Chapel Hill professor.
Eligible students can participate in the study’s focus groups on their site. The study is from Mar. 17- Apr. 7 and requires a virtual interview related to the student’s perspective on sexual health. Participants will receive a $50 visa gift card for participating.
Prior to focus groups, the professors needed their project approved. They created a proposal and submitted their plan to the National Institute of Health. Dr. Wade explained the approval process in “The Healthy Sistah Project”.
“There is a National Institute of Health (NIH), they send a budget to do health research in North Carolina, the program is called NCTraCS,” said Dr.Wade.
NC TraCS, North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute, is responsible for approving proposals by professors and providing funding to their project based on the state’s (NC) budget.
Using qualitative research and individual interviews, the three professors created an interview guide that is approved by a five-member student advisory board. The student advisory board is made up of N.C. A&T students and UNC-Chapel Hill students. The board serves as a checkpoint in giving feedback on the types of questions that should be asked.
Dr. Parker explained how their project creates an opportunity for students.
“We are working with graduate and undergrad students at A&T and UNC Chapel Hill but also use this as an opportunity to mentor other black women in the area of research,” said Dr.Parker.
The project’s research team includes three research assistants that are separate from the student advisory board. Two out of three students are research assistants from N.C. A&T: Brianna Wiley, a UNC-Greensboro social work graduate student, and Kwani Taylor, a N.C. A&T senior psychology student. Dorrian Wilson, a UNC- Chapel Hill education graduate student works with Wiley and Taylor.
The Healthy SISTAH project presented at UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-G and has a recorded discussion titled “The Strong Black Woman reinterpreted through a wellness lens. Dr. Parker explained the purpose of their project and its importance.
“ People believe that black women are not willing to be involved in research.We want to be able to show them that they are willing and able to be involved, contribute to research, but also look at their experiences as black women,” said Dr.Parker.