Browsing Psychology Honors Theses by Author "Martinez, L. Virginia"
Racial Injustices: The Menstrual Health Experiences of African American and Latina WomenMoore, Sara B.; Martinez, L. Virginia (2020-05-01)The goal of this research is to examine racial disparities among college-age African American and Latina women with a focus on menstrual health issues and their experiences with health care. This research includes a literature review that explores the existence of institutionalized racism and sexism in medicine, giving attention to reproductive justice and ultimately menstrual justice for women of color. It also entails four semi-structured, in-depth interviews with African American and Latina women, through which I identified four common themes: 1) the normalization of pain, symptoms, and experiences, 2) feelings of not being taken seriously by medical providers, 3) the disruption of daily activities and self-image, and 4) feelings of frustration that treatments are not working. Previous research supports the findings that women of color are disproportionately disadvantaged compared to their White counterparts in terms of birth outcomes and infant mortality, quality of medical care, and their relationship with medical professionals. Although the area of menstrual justice is particularly understudied, this research sheds light on the experiences of women of color who have sought medical care for menstrual health conditions in the hopes that their health care experiences will not go unnoticed or be dismissed. Medical professionals can draw on this study to address the problem of racial disparities in medical treatment, menstrual health, and health care in general to provide a meaningful and effective path for women of color.