School of Nursing

Bonding in Sisterhood through a Dual Crises

Title: "Bonding in Sisterhood through a Dual Crises": A Qualitative Study of a Virtual, Health-Related Program created by Women of Color during COVID-19 and Social Injustice

Project Lead: Shanae Rhodes, BSN, RN, Student in the Nursing Science Doctoral Program

Recent tragedies of heightened social injustices and the current COVID-19 Pandemic have exacerbated the health inequities affecting women of color. Despite the double impact of recent crises on this population, some have taken the opportunity to rise from the ashes. My Sister's Keeper (MSK) was created by a group of four women from San Antonio, Seguin, and the Dallas/Fort Worth area in June 2020 in response to heightened social injustices and the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The mission of MSK, a community-based, virtual group, is "to empower women of color to have better health through information sharing and sister-bonding." The program primarily serves African-American and Latina women but has recently expanded participation to include Asian women. Monthly sessions consist of two guest speakers: a professional expert (e.g. interdisciplinary healthcare providers) and a content expert (e.g. a person who is living or has lived with a particular illness). Topics covered at the sessions are selected by the participants. Additional services offered by MSK include, but are not limited to: providing up-to-date resources, offering a safe space to discuss culturally-relevant topics, and spiritual support and prayer.

Although virtual programs are emerging, little research has been conducted to explore the development and influence of a health-related resource developed by women of color for women of color. Through an established partnership with a virtual community of women of color, this study will qualitatively examine the development, evolving nature, and feasibility of an interactive learning forum designed to promote health awareness for women of color during a heightened time of social injustice and COVID-19. The study will lead to the development of a Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) study focused on issues identified by the group of women.