Title: Technological Approaches to Maternal Mental Health Promotion
Collaborators: Dr. Rasheeta Chandler, PhD, Dr. Natalie Hernandez, PhD, Dominique Guillaume, Sabreen Mohammed, Morgan Allen, Brielle Evans
As the COVID-19 pandemic causes models of healthcare to rapidly shift and as it introduces widespread economic and social stressors, there is a vital need for innovations that help expecting women and new mothers manage their mental health, given that prenatal and postpartum stress threatens the wellbeing of the mother and child.
Research is especially needed in the context of Black women, who have the highest rates of adverse maternal health outcomes (e.g., infant mortality and maternal depression, lower utilization of and access to prenatal care, and significant lifetime and chronic stress exposure. We administer a mixed-methods approach focused on understanding the role that technology can be play in supporting the mental health needs of pregnant and postpartum Black women in the U.S. during the pandemic.
Our research group examines how novel interactive computing systems can help people to achieve a state of wellness, as defined by the World Health Organization: "Wellness is the realisation of the fullest potential of an individual physically, psychologically, socially, spiritually and economically."
We are particularly interested in issues of health equity, designing innovative software tools for populations who disproportionately experience barriers to wellness. To this end, our research explores how social, mobile, and ubiquitous software systems can support health literacy, healthy behaviors, and health advocacy in low-socioeconomic and racial/ethnic minority groups. The Wellness Technology Lab utilizes user-centered, participatory design methods to design and build engaging and motivating software systems, and conducts in-depth field studies to evaluate user experience with and impact of these tools. Our work contributes to the fields of human-computer interaction (HCI), computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW), social computing, ubiquitous computing (Ubicomp), and personal/consumer health informatics.