Dr. Forgive Avorgbedor, an assistant professor in the UNC Greensboro School of Nursing, was awarded a grant to examine ways to help reduce maternal and infant mortality, which disproportionately affects ethnic minorities in the United States.

Avorgbedor received support for her project, “Program to Increase Diversity in Cardiovascular Health-Related Research (PRIDECVD),” from SUNY Downstate Medical Center with funds from the National Institutes of Health’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Her grant is for $12,700.

Avorgbedor focuses her research on biological, social, and psychosocial conditions that affect pregnancy and postpartum health. She has worked to mitigate health issues, such as diabetes and hypertension, that result in ethnic minorities, including Black/African American women, experiencing complications in pregnancy.

With her current research, Avorgbedor will examine whether the environment and everyday interaction with the environment, including structural racism and discrimination, predisposes women to adverse outcomes while pregnant and postpartum through changes in gene expression.

“Pregnancy is a natural occurrence, and it should be celebratory, not a death sentence,” Avorgbedor said. “I hope the findings from this project will provide knowledge on target interventions to reduce maternal and infant mortality.”