Research: Birth Worker Bias in Emergency Decision Making
Awards: Creative Approaches to Research WESEF 2022
Mentors: Peter Cambell, Dana Oaks, and Jennifer Teubl
Giving birth is a universal experience, yet there are many different cultural beliefs and practices regarding childbirth. Each year in the U.S, 700 to 900 women die related to pregnancy and childbirth related complications (Kassebaum et al. 2015). There are multitudes of complications that can occur during childbirth: transverse, hysterectomy, and cesarean section. The purpose of this research was to find the connection between how the race of a birth worker impacts their emergency decision making in patient care. A survey was conducted to increase an understanding of birth worker’s decision making. The survey was distributed to two races: a white population and people of color (POC). Participants were recruited via Instagram direct messaging and distributed via friends/acquaintances and Twitter. The survey was presented in a Google form and was accessed through a link. The survey included a consent form, demographics, questionnaire, and scenario: (1) Consent form is for the birth worker to provide permission and understanding to give the data to the researchers. (2) Demographics were collected from the birth worker to show the cultural background impact on decision making. (3) Questionnaire measured conscious bias on the bases of a 5-point likert scale. (4) Scenarios included three real life situations with the choices of surgical options and preventive measures. The results showed that both POC and the white population birth workers respond similarly to emergency scenarios. POC and white birth workers scored similarly when posed with the agreement of the statement “Culture has a significant impact on the birthing process” (POC: m=1.38, SD=0.52; White: m=1.24, SD=0.44). Overall, there was no bias in relation to non-invasive versus invasive procedures across ethnicity and there was no statistically significant influence of birth worker’s perception on different races.
About these Scientists:
Autumn Herrera is a senior at Yonkers High School who is graduating with her IB Diploma and has committed to SUNY Binghamton as a biology major on the pre-med track. She plans to gain experience and explore her interests in med school, eventually becoming an emergency room doctor.
Tanya Palmer is a senior at Yonkers High School who has committed to SUNY New Paltz as a biology major. Since fourth grade, they have been passionate about maternal health and intends on becoming a midwife. With maternal health issues coming to light amidst the pandemic, Tanya states they were influenced to hopefully make a change in the field of maternity.