Jennifer conducted independent research exploring the effects that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have on the birth outcome of an infant from a mother with a high ACE score. This allowed her to examine potential generational trends and highlight the need for early intervention and prevention in children’s health.
Please describe your project and how you came up with the idea
My research project focused on a concept called Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), which examined a series of questions related to abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction that individuals experienced as children. I focused on identifying the relationship between a mother’s ACE score and the birth outcome of the infant. I learned that facing adversities as a child can affect your health as an adult, which is why early health intervention is critical.
What was the most rewarding aspect of your Connecting Experience?
Realizing that the phrase “children are resilient” is not completely true, because children are like clay; although many forms are positive, some forms are not as positive and if the clay dries in that form it can be very dangerous and can potentially break. In other words, I realized that if a child faces many adversities while developing, it will lead to very bad outcomes in terms of their health and behavior that they may not be able to bounce back from.
In what ways has this Connecting Experience shaped your plans for the future?
Through my experience, I have decided to seek a master’s degree in public health, with a concentration
on health disparities and health inequities, along with a medical degree. I realized that I have a very strong interest in public health in relation to social work and health disparities. I now know that I want to focus my healthcare efforts in inner-city communities that have high ACE scores and start a clinic that will focus on early intervention in children, to lower the chance of contracting an illness, participating in negative health behaviors, and having behavioral issues.
Discuss the relationship you had with your faculty mentor and how they helped you during this Connecting Experience.
I am incredibly grateful to have had Dr. Catherine Cubbin as my faculty mentor who guided me through my independent research. Not only did she provide me with the necessary resources and directional guidance that I needed, but she also encouraged me to expand my thinking to create intervention plans that would help Austin communities with a low socioeconomic status.