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Dr. Romina Barral Receives NIH Funding to Study Reproductive Health Disparities Among Latinx Youth Living in Rural Communities


Dr. Romina Barral Receives NIH Funding to Study Reproductive Health Disparities Among Latinx Youth Living in Rural Communities

Headshot of Romina L. Barral, MD, MSCR
Romina L. Barral, MD, MSCR
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine; Research Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Kansas School of Medicine
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Romina Barral, MD, Adolescent Medicine, recently received five-year, $809,242 K23 Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (1K23HD109464-01).

Dr. Barral’s study, “Reducing reproductive health disparities among Latinx youth living in rural communities” aims to improve scientific knowledge about disparities in teen pregnancy prevention.

According to Dr. Barral, although teen pregnancy rates have declined in the U.S. over the last several decades, disparities persist: teen birth rates among Latinx teens in the U.S. are 1.5 times higher than the national average and more than two times higher in rural areas compared to rural White teens.

Best practices for implementing evidence-based unintended teen pregnancy prevention programs in immigrant rural Latinx communities remain largely unknown. This study uses questionnaires and interviews with youth and community members, to co-develop and pilot test an unintended teen pregnancy prevention intervention in an immigrant Latinx rural community, aiming to decrease reproductive health disparities in communities that have been structurally marginalized across the country.

“Teenage pregnancy is largely unintended and can lead to adverse health, educational, and economic outcomes for both the mother and the child,” said Dr. Barral. “Latinx immigrants settling in rural areas represent the largest and fastest growing minority group in rural America. A critical need exists to develop and evaluate a set of responsive interventions tailored specifically to this population.”

Co-Investigators on the project include the following mentors: Megha Ramaswamy PhD MPH (KUMC), Claire Brindis PhD (UCSF), Elizabeth Miller MD PhD (UPitt), Melissa Miller, MD MsCR (CM) and the following advisors: Vincent Staggs, PhD (CM) and Jill Joseph, MD, PhD, MPH (UC Davis). She will continue to closely collaborate with Mariana Ramirez, LSMW, Director of Juntos Center for Advancing Latino Health (KUMC) and her experienced and amazing team.

Earlier in 2022, Dr. Barral received funding from Frontiers Clinical and Translational Science Institute at the University of Kansas for a similar project. You can read more about that here.

The contents are those of the investigator and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by NIH, or the U.S. Government.