RIT researchers to survey deaf, hard of hearing women on reproductive health experiences – Democrat & Chronicle

Two researchers from theRochester Instituteof Technologys Institute for the Deaf are executing the first nationwide study on the level of reproductive health knowledge ofwomen who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The research also will address concerns that deaf orhard of hearing women face barriers to "appropriate reproductive healthcare services and health information,"according to a news releasefrom RIT/NTID.

Leading the effort: Dr. Tiffany Panko, director of the school's Deaf Healthy Laboratory, and Corrine Occhino, director of the Multimodal Language lab in RITs Research Venter on Culture and Language.

They areusing a survey that will aim to gather insight on the pregnancy experiences and reproductive healthcare use of women who are deaf orhard of hearing, according to RIT/NTID's news release.

The research team also plans interviews to study how women who aredeaf orhard of hearing"use American Sign Language in communicating their knowledge of and thoughts around reproductive health."

"Groundbreaking national research conducted by Corrine Occhino, left, and Tiffany Panko will help determine the level of reproductive health care access in women who are deaf and hard of hearing." Credit: Mike Guinto/NTID(Photo: Photo provided by RIT)

Researchindicates that women who are deaf or hard of hearinghave an increased chance of experiencing unplanned pregnancy because of "inaccessible health resources, use of less effective methods of contraceptionand multiple sexual partners,"according to RIT.

An early 2020 study found that women who are deaf orhard of hearing are 67 percent more at-risk of unplanned pregnancy, according to the news release.

There currently are no published studies on deaf and hard-of-hearing women and pregnancy termination," according to Panko in the RIT/NTIDnews release. "To date, little is known about their access to information regarding unintended pregnancy options or their experienceswith counseling or care services."

The researchers are conducting the interviews remotely so that the studys sample will be diverse in terms of population density, education and access to care. With the interviews and survey, the Panko and Occhino will aim to identify patterns in the womens responses.

It is our hope that our findings will lead to the development of culturally and linguistically appropriate educational interventions for healthcare providers who care for deaf and hard-of-hearing women, health media content developers and deaf and hard-of-hearing community members to promote access to information and effective use of the reproductive healthcare system, Panko said in thestatement.

Initial funding for the study was provided by RITs Scholarship Portfolio Development Initiative grants program. Further funding for the research is through a grant from the Societyof Family Planning.

Adria R. Walker covers public education for the Democrat and Chronicle in partnership with Report for America. Follow her on Twitter at @adriawalkr or send her an email at arwalker@gannett.com. You can support her work with a tax-deductible donation to Report for America.

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RIT researchers to survey deaf, hard of hearing women on reproductive health experiences - Democrat & Chronicle

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