Jonas V Nurse Leader Scholar

Caroline Handschuh , MSN, CNM

Columbia University
PhD Student

I am currently a PhD candidate at Columbia University's School of Nursing. I am researching adolescent health risk behaviors and have a strong interest in reproductive health education and resources for adolescents including a broader interest in access to family planning in developing countries. Prior to starting the PhD program I worked for five years as a staff midwife, both inpatient and outpatient, at large urban hospital in New York City. I cared for women experiencing healthy and high risk pregnancies, managed labors and deliveries, and finally assessed women in the immediate postpartum period. While I knew I wanted to pursue further research, this experience made me acutely aware of the disparities in school health education, particularly in poor neighborhoods as well as support for young women and men to make healthy, informed lifestyle choices. I felt frustrated by the limited time I had with my patients during prenatal visits and the lack of continuity for our most vulnerable patients. With my research I am hoping to gain a better understanding of the unique challenges adolescents face, particularly adolescents living in underserved communities, and how educational institutions and health care providers may better serve them. My larger research interests in family planning stem from my experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mauritania. I am particularly interested in how contraceptive information and access are organized in countries such as Mauritania, Mali, and Senegal that have such diverse populations not only in terms of language and ethnicity, but lifestyle as well.