MCH Blog Post #1 (04.06.2021)

Diversity Pipeline Programs Community-Based Training & Practice Meeting by Lizzet Lopez and Nancy Le

The Diversity Pipeline Programs under the HRSA Health Workforce hosted a virtual symposium to bring members of pipeline programs from all over the country to exhibit a research poster of their interest. It was a three day event where attendees could interact through presentations and interactive workshops to learn from each other and address financial, cultural, and educational barriers affecting students from disadvantaged backgrounds. We presented our poster on the “Analysis of Low Socioeconomic University Students and Their Experiences of Depression During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” which we had also presented at the MCH Research Symposium during Summer 2020. Our poster focused on the impact of socioeconomic status on the mental health of university students during the COVID-19 pandemic. We chose this topic since depression is a prevalent mental health concern among university students. Additionally, with the onset of COVID leading to a transition to online education and stressors in social, familial, and financial aspects in life, we recognized depression could be heightened. We were also aware that socioeconomically disadvantaged students would be more at risk for increases in depression during COVID-19. From our research, we found that there was no significant relationship between low-socioeconomic status and mid-high depression. However, from our qualitative data, there was a common pattern within results and survey responses that reflect health concerns, difficulty adjusting academically, and a lack of access to mental health care among other things. This is important because the transition to online learning during COVID highlights several needs that universities must address in order to improve the mental well-being of all students. We were excited to present our findings at the conference. It provided for an insightful experience, despite its virtual setting. We had the opportunity to engage with many other professionals in various fields. It was an enriching experience to give and receive feedback on our poster from such an interactive community!