Comfort Olorunsaiye, a 2015 Ph.D. graduate of the UNC Charlotte’s Health Services Research program, has received a Changemakers Grant from the Society for Family Planning. The award will enable her to research perceived risk and impacts of unintended pregnancy and contraceptive behaviors in specific populations.
The aim of the grant program is to respond to institutionalized racism in the field of family planning by providing dedicated support for awardees to expand research skills and expertise.
Olorunsaiye will spend 18 months focusing her research on the perceived risks and impact of unintended pregnancy on the contraceptive behaviors of African immigrants in Southeastern Pennsylvania.
“When we talk about the immigrant population, we are usually talking about it in broad terms, but there are unique characteristics to each group of immigrants,” she said. “Because I have studied international populations mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, I understand that reproductive health decision making is driven by not just socioeconomic factors. There are a lot of cultural nuances to understand in reproductive health.”
Olorunsaiye is an assistant professor of Public Health at Arcadia University, located in Pennsylvania, which will allow her direct access to her research population. She started researching reproductive rights and contraceptive behaviors during her time at UNC Charlotte, under the guidance of Larissa Huber, professor and director of the Public Health Sciences and Health Services Research Ph.D. programs.
Huber was the chair of Olorunsaiye’s dissertation, and the two have continued to work on publishing manuscripts. From there, they came to maintain a close relationship and mentorship. Huber will be the research mentor for the Changemakers grant.
After learning that she had received the grant, Huber was the first person that Olorunsaiye contacted.
“I am excited to have the opportunity to continue to work with Comfort. Collaborating with her on research has always been a great experience, since she is so organized and thoughtful in her approach. I am really looking forward to being able to extend our research partnership to a new project,” Huber said.