Carolyn Sifton Research Grant
I became a nurse because I witnessed unjust suffering and wanted to do something about it. After high school, I volunteered at an orphanage and hospital in Haiti. At the time, many children were brought to the hospital on the brink of death. One day after witnessing another malnourished, dehydrated baby suffering, I asked Gladys (a Haitian nurse and the founder & CEO of the organization) why their mothers did not breastfeed them. Gladys’s response has stuck with me. Lovingly and sternly, she provided me with a brief history of Haiti, the infant formula industry’s role in devaluing women’s bodies, and the extreme poverty many Haitian women experience. Gladys made me realize that health and wellness are multifaceted and that judging a patient and their family does not help them in their health and wellness journeys. I decided to pursue a nursing career because it provides practical, lifesaving skills and requires critical thinking and problem-solving surrounding the determinants of health, like access to healthcare and clean water. My areas of expertise for the past 15 years include community health, health promotion, and disease prevention to prevent undue suffering. My scholarly interests stem from my clinical experiences and focus on the global and local histories of oppression that create health inequities. (Health inequities refer to differences in health that are unfair, unjust, and avoidable). My doctoral research looks at how we can improve healthcare and social service provision, practices, and policies to foster health equity for children, youth, and their families.