Black Women in Academia: Supporting, Healing, and Empowering (BWA: SHE)
Data from the 2019 AAU Campus Climate Survey indicate that approximately 27% of Black undergraduate women experienced sexual assault or touching that involved physical force or the inability to consent. In addition, Black undergraduate women are disproportionately affected by two types of sexual misconduct victimization: intimate partner violence (IPV) and stalking. Black Women in Academia (BWA) – Supporting, Healing, and Empowering is a University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) SEED Project-funded study designed to better understand the challenges faced by Black undergraduate women who experience sexual misconduct victimization (sexual assault, IPV, stalking, and sexual harassment), including possible barriers to utilizing relevant campus resources. A mixed methods approach will be used to achieve this goal 1) a scoping literature review of prevention programs and strategies, 2) interviews with Black undergraduate women about their experiences with sexual misconduct victimization, 3) small group discussions with members of Black student organizations, and 4) a faculty/staff survey designed to assess prior sexual misconduct prevention training, additional prevention training needs, and knowledge of resources for students who experience sexual misconduct victimization. Data gathered will help inform the improvement of existing services and aid in the development of new sexual misconduct prevention strategies tailored to the unique needs of Black undergraduate women at Pitt.
Dr. Lynissa R. Stokes is the principal investigator of Black Women in Academia (BWA) – Supporting, Healing, and Empowering. She joined the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics as a postdoctoral scholar (T32HD087162, PI Miller) in 2019. She received her doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Boston University and in her role as a clinician has worked with diverse populations of adult survivors of sexual abuse, sexual assault, and relationship abuse. Her research focuses on barriers to reducing Black female adolescents’ health disparities, with an emphasis on reducing HIV risk and exposure to relationship abuse and sexual assault victimization. Data collected from BWA will be used to inform existing and new sexual misconduct prevention strategies at the University.
Dr. Ashley Hill is a reproductive epidemiologist and Postdoctoral Scholar with the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Her expertise is in social and reproductive epidemiology, health disparities and the co-occurrence of social, environmental and biological factors that contribute to sexually transmitted infections. In her current work, she examines the impacts of structural and social determinants on reproductive outcomes of adolescent and young adult women and aims to develop integrated approaches that can be translated to community level prevention interventions. Dr. Hill received her B.S. from Spelman College, her MPH from Georgia Southern University, and her DrPH from Texas A&M University. She is currently the co-PI of the BWA study with Dr. Lynissa Stokes, and provides expertise on the intersection of experiences of violence and sexual and reproductive health.
Rosemary Iwuanyanwu currently serves as Project Coordinator for Black Women in Academia: Supporting, Healing, and Empowering and manages personnel and logistics for the study. She has been a research assistant with the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine for over 3 years and has participated in the implementation of several violence prevention projects. Rosemary received her B.S. from the University of Pittsburgh's Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and plans to pursue her MD and specialize in Sports Medicine and Kinesiology. Her research interests are focused on promoting health equity in violence prevention and explores the intersections of college health, gender, and identity for historically marginalized groups.
Phoebe Balascio (she/her) is pursuing a Master’s in Epidemiology and a Certificate in Health Equity at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. She is research assistant for the BWA study. Phoebe received her B.S. from the University of Delaware College of Health Sciences. She has research interests in health equity, gender-based violence prevention, racial justice, disability justice, and the adoption industrial complex.
Alyssa Lisle is a research assistant for the Black Women in Academia (BWA) study. She is in her last semester of her Master of Social Work, specializing in Community, Organizations, and Social Action (COSA), with a certificate in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. She received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Allegheny College, where she completed a bachelors-level thesis titled Dimensions of Sexual Orientation and Depressive Symptoms.
Jordan Pollard, MSW, is a Center for Urban Education Heinz Fellows at the University of Pittsburgh. Jordan's research and clinical interest involve Black youth who have been marginalized including those who are system-involved. Specifically, he aims to examine the ways that multiple spheres of marginalization intersect and how adverse childhood experiences, trauma, racism, and discrimination influence young people's health. Jordan is a volunteer research assistant on the BWA study where he plans to continue his work with trauma and discrimination. Learning to design and test interventions that enhance resiliency and recognize the inherent strengths of youth is one of his objectives in the next stage of his learning. Jordan will pursue a Ph.D. in School Psychology at the University of Cincinnati in fall 2021.