Since the summer of 2020 I have been a part of a collaborative research project at NYU Center for Disability Studies called the Disability COVID Chronicles, documenting the experiences of people with disabilities during the pandemic by collecting memories, stories, artwork, and other materials to build a publicly accessible through preservation in NYU Tamiment Archives. This work is being supported by the National Science Foundation and an NYU COVID-19 Research Catalyst grant.
As a research assistant, my initial focus was on how Black communities in New York metro area are dealing with mental health challenges during what I call the double pandemic of COVID-19 and police brutality. In 2021, I was given the opportunity to present my research at the Medusa Graduate Student Conference at the University of Toronto and the Social Power and Mental Health Conference at the University of Cambridge. I then published my first article, Visions of Black Futurity Amidst the Double Pandemic of COVID-19 and Police Brutality, in Somatosphere. In this article, I discuss how Black people with mental illness were both vulnerable to harm and also adapted to threat through practices of self- and community-care.
Now, my research concerns how the COVID-19 pandemic has affects perinatal mental health. Thus far I have conducted 17 interviews with expectant and postpartum mothers, new parents, doulas and clinicians. This product of this research will be a chapter that will go in an anthology about COVID-19 and disability. I also intend to use this work to inform trainings and curriculum for doulas and other birth workers on how to help their clients who are experiencing a mental health crisis in pregnancy and/or in the postpartum period.
Project Advisors: Faye Ginsburg, Rayna Rapp, Mara Mills