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Helen Arega


Bio, Research, Mentor

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    2010 Research

    Abstrac: Who Cares about Environmental Racism? Exploring the intersections of Public Health, Race, and the Environment

    Mentor: Dr. Kelly Coogan, McNair Mentor

    Environmental racism affects all communities around the United States, in particular "The American South," also known as the third world in the West, it is by far one of the most targeted regions. Household garbage and hazardous waste plants are intentionally using the American South as a dumping ground. There are numerous campaigns and agencies that specifically work on environmental issues, but oftentimes the variety of issues they choose are rather limited: for instance, air pollution and climate change. While these issues are very important, there are a number of environmental problems that remain largely overlooked. The environmental health risks of minority communities get easily overlooked in this formulation of the general public- a general public that is the audience of the country's most significant environmental health campaigns. This research seeks to examine to what extent do public health organizations that are conscious of environmental issues take into count environmental racism.

    2009 Research

    Abstract: Investigating African-Born Women and the Barriers That Stand in Their Way to Seeking Health Care After Arriving in the United States

    Mentor: Dr. Robin Pickering, Physical Education, Health and Recreation

    There are a large number of African-born women living in the United States and their number continues to rise due to low life expectancy, lack of jobs, and the growing number of HIV/AIDS cases in their African countries. The customs and traditions that these women practice and are often forced into in their home countries are for example, not having the right to refuse sex, asking to use a condom, and getting tested. These women tend to keep and continue to practice these traditions after arriving to the United States. My quest is to find the gaps keeping them from seeking screening for HIV, making appointments, and taking anti-viral drugs. In order to allow an in-depth and personal examination of how HIV/AIDS affect African-born women I will be conducting a qualitative study. By analyzing the interviews I hope to identify ways to eliminate the barriers that stand in their way. In my study I have focused on women from east Africa that have migrated to the United States, and customs and traditions that limit them from practicing healthy lifestyle choices in the United States. These countries make up some the countries in sub-Saharan Africa which 61% of the women are affected by this disease.


    University of Delaware McNair Conference, October 8-9, 2010


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