Student Research in Northern Ghana
Erica Bass-Flimmons, a doctoral candidate in our Learning Technologies Division, is the recipient of an inaugural seed grant in health innovation. The grant will help Flimmons’ work on mPowering Maternal Health In Ghana (MHIG). Her research involves using mobile messaging technology to assess antenatal care retention in pregnant mothers in Northern Ghana.
She spent three years collecting data alongside a non-profit organization and learning how to use such technologies for individuals in rural settings.
“After reviewing the challenges and reading the literature about mobile technologies for healthcare, I notice that there was a lack of evidence for evaluating these projects in low and middle income countries,” she said. “The first part of my project looks at the health activity outcomes of mothers that participated in the project. The second part explores the use of mobile devices to collect data with a research team.”
Her research goal is to find out “how mobile devices can be used to assess the impact of the messages on the mortality and ANC outcomes of mothers. It’s also to enhance data collection quality of an mhealth project in a rural community in Northern Ghana,” she explains. “In general, mhealth data collection has high potential to improve the availability and quality of health data needed to evaluate health, assess the effectiveness of interventions, monitor trends, and inform health policy.”
The grant is through the Emory-Georgia Tech Healthcare Innovation Program (HIP), in partnership with the Atlanta Clinical & Translational Science Institute (ACTSI), Georgia State University (GSU), and Winship Cancer Institute (Winship), the program funds multi-investigator, multi-disciplinary teams examining healthcare services and clinical effectiveness. The awards support innovative approaches that address issues of healthcare quality, costs, and/or access.
Flimmons’ faculty sponsor is Susan Ogletree, the director for the Center for Evaluation & Research at the College. Other recipients include Lyn Ametewee, doctoral student in epidemiology with the School of Public Health at GSU and Rosemary Kinuthia, an Emory University student with the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing.