Tiffany Bell recently presented her thesis examining the role that healthcare providers play in contributing to reproductive and sexual health disparities to the Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Her research sought to examine medical and nursing students’ bias surrounding the prescription of intrauterine devices (a long-acting and reversible method of contraception) to adolescents based on the patient’s race and sexual history.
An online survey presented the students with a clinical vignette of an IUD-seeking sexually active adolescent, with the patient’s race and number of past sexual partners systematically manipulated. Tiffany’s findings include a significant interaction between provider race and patient race that indicated non-white providers were significantly less likely to prescribe to white adolescents than black adolescents, whereas no prescription disparities were evident among white providers. Her findings suggest that it is important to examine the extent to which both patient and provider’s characteristics contribute to differences in access to and utilization of contraceptive methods, in order to address health care disparities. Tiffany graduated with the Master of Public Health degree in 2015.