Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $144,891)
The complicated nature of the healthcare system and lack of gender-specific health education in jails have exacerbated many of the existing social and economic disadvantages experienced by justice-involved women. The proposed project, Project THRIVE (Transformative Health and Reproductive Information for Incarcerated Women's Empowerment), aims to address the challenges faced by incarcerated women in the United States, who often lack adequate healthcare knowledge, leading to overuse of emergency services, increased government spending, and higher recidivism rates.
Sexual and reproductive healthcare is considered an anchoring health service for women due to the vulnerable nature of exams (i.e., pelvic screening) and perceptions of these providers as knowledgeable, safe, and easy to talk to. However, their health outcomes are often compromised by a lack of knowledge, implicit bias among healthcare providers, communication barriers, and medical mistrust. Thus, investing in sexual and reproductive education for justice-involved women and their future providers provides a unique opportunity to reduce stigmatization, discrimination, and other individual- and system-level barriers to achieving health equity.
It first seeks to measure the impact of Women Leading Healthy Change, an existing ImPACT Virginia-funded co-learning-based sexual health education program for justice-involved women in Chesterfield County Jail, on the participant’s sexual health knowledge. Second, this project aims to assess the current level of knowledge and identify potential bias regarding sexual and reproductive health care for justice-involved women among the Virginia Commonwealth University medical student population. To achieve these goals, we propose a mixed method study to (1) use a modified version of Kirkpatrick’s framework for evaluation to measure Women Leading Healthy Change’s impact on justice-involved women’s sexual health knowledge, beliefs about cervical cancer, and self-efficacy for screening; (2) Assess the relationship between demographics, medical mistrust, incarceration history, and future health-seeking behaviors, with a specific focus on sexual risk perception and sexual health literacy (3) Examine whether medical students’ beliefs about justice-involved individuals’ different identities are associated with differences in sexual health treatment recommendations. CA/NCF