Graduation Date


Document Type

Honor's Thesis


Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Primary Major


Primary Minor

Public Health

Second Minor

Leadership Studies

Program Director

Andrea Boyle, PhD, FNAP

Thesis Advisor

Kathleen Beebe, PhD


The institutionalized marginalization of the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) population is not an uncommon theme throughout American history. Although a majority of American society actively refers to racial discrimination in the past tense, recent events such as the Black Lives Matter movement demonstrates that countless biases based solely on skin complexion are still ingrained into the minds of many. Due to the pervasiveness of implicit biases, American healthcare professionals are also subject to believing and acting upon these biases, either consciously or subconsciously, which could directly affect the quality of care that their BIPOC patients receive.

A literature review revealed racial disparities within the maternal health specialty. Many BIPOC mothers experienced dismissive or presumptive attitudes from healthcare professionals, who themselves were unaware of these attitudes toward their patients (Abbyad & Robertson, 2011). BIPOC mothers also perceived that healthcare providers appear to subliminally withhold information that undermines their right to body autonomy (Altman et al., 2019).

This research aims to explore relationships among race, instances of negative experiences in healthcare during the perinatal period, and prevalence of adverse maternal and neonatal health outcomes. A descriptive correlational study is being conducted with approximately 70 mothers who have given birth in the United States within the past 10 years. The survey will measure perceptions of discrimination during the perinatal period and selected adverse perinatal outcomes (preterm birth and/or preeclampsia). ANOVA tests will be conducted to determine if significant correlations exist. Results from this study will contribute to the existing body of research by furthering our understanding on how race influences the health outcomes of the BIPOC population, specifically within the maternal health sector. Expected results include significant correlations among BIPOC populations, higher instances of negative experiences in healthcare, and increased prevalence of preterm birth and preeclampsia.