This month we celebrate Jackie Lanning!
As a scholar this past year Jackie’s original research project focused on the negative effects of exposure to environmental toxins on maternal and child health in Durham.
She worked under the mentorship of Brittni Howard from RTI’s Global Gender Center, herself a young researcher and public health analyst.
About her experience in the program, Jackie noted, “What amazed me the most throughout the WomenNC Scholars program was the overwhelming support I received from some of the most talented professionals in their respective fields.”
“We were able to have one-on-one conversations with researchers and policy advocates who genuinely cared about research interests and wanted to make a change. Every time I had a question or needed a resource, there was someone there I could go to. It was an amazing feeling to know people believed in your research and supported what you were doing.”
Jackie’s initial inspiration for her project came from faculty members at NC State who encouraged her to conduct research on maternal and child health. Her decision to focus on Durham stemmed from research that showed higher concentrations of environmental toxins in maternal blood in downtown Durham. This focus allowed her to gain a deeper understanding of social determinants of health and witness systemic barriers to healthcare for mothers and their children firsthand.
As a Women NC Scholar Jackie’s work was presented at multiple venues, including at NCSU’s Gender and Equity Research Symposium, the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, and in front of the Durham County Women’s Commission.
Jackie’s advocacy extends beyond her efforts as a WomenNC scholar. Last spring she worked with the March of Dimes, NC Division of Public Health and the Durham non-profit, Partnership Effort for the Advancement of Children’s Health (PEACH), to distribute free multivitamins to women and girls in Durham Housing Authority (DHA) communities. These vitamins can reduce the risk of birth defects by 70%. Jackie puts her money where her mouth is as a fierce advocate for women and girls.
Not surprisingly, after graduating in May from North Carolina State University with a B.A. in biological sciences and a concentration in public health, she is currently pursuing a Masters in Public Health at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health. There she will continue her research interests in maternal and child health as she begins an internship at the CDC’s National Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities next month. After completing her MPH, she plans to continue researching health disparities that impact health outcomes of pregnant women and their children.
We are so proud of Jackie for all her hard work and can’t wait to see what she accomplishes next!