Dr. Angela Rodriguez, Psychology and Social Sciences & Policy Studies, and Dr. Ben Nephew, Biology and Biotechnology, use storytelling to promote understanding of the biophysical impacts from discrimination.
With growing research that indicates social discrimination leads to psychophysiological reactions in the body that can have long-term health and well-being impacts. However, discrimination is perceived as more of an employment policy issue rather than a health issue. Dr. Angela Rodriguez and Dr. Ben Nephew’s project uses biopsychosocial approaches to study health and behaviors at the intersection of social phenomena (stigma and discrimination), biomarkers (stress hormones, immune factors, genetic and epigenetic factors), and psychological factors (discrimination and pain related distress).
Working with a partner organization, TMI, Dr. Rodriguez and Dr. Nephew use powerful writing and storytelling to document and disseminate the adverse biological impacts of discrimination on migrant Latina mothers and their families in North Carolina. This project includes student researchers as well as related psychology, biology, and film studies classes in the documentation of the research and associated production of a video for dissemination. With its high impact storytelling through online platforms, this project aims (a) to increase awareness of physiological damage resulting from chronic discrimination and (b) to draw attention to possible policy changes that identify social discrimination as a significant public health concern.