Current Scholar

Jennifer Whittaker

PhD Student, Urban and Regional Planning
Jennifer Whittaker
Academic Institution: University of Pennsylvania Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Cohort Start Year: 2018
Research Topics: Built Environment/Housing/Planning, Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Healthcare Access, Public Policy, Public, Population, and Community Health
Populations Served: Low-Income Communities, Rural Communities

FOCUS
People living in rural communities experience avoidable and unjust disparities in health outcomes. Lack of access to health care services is compounded by shortcomings in physical infrastructure, transportation, housing, education and economic systems. Jenny’s research seeks to understand how health care systems can partner with other community and municipal systems to improve health care provision and create healthy rural communities.

MORE ABOUT JENNIFER
As someone who grew up in a rural community, Jenny has witnessed the deep frustration and severe consequences of failures in the rural health care system. Her training as a community and regional planner makes her well-suited to identifying a full systems approach to community health that better meets the needs of rural populations.

DISSERTATION GRANT AWARDEE — FEBRUARY 2020
Understanding the Role of Place in Health and Wellbeing for Rural Families: A Photovoice Project by Moms

Infants born in rural areas, rather than cities or suburbs, are less likely to celebrate their first birthday. Decreasing rural infant mortality requires rural-relevant policies and widespread structural investments in rural communities. This project aims to understand and envision what those investments and policies could look like, at the local government level, through the eyes of low-resource mothers living in rural Pennsylvania. The project incorporates photovoice and story mapping, two community-based research methods that activate participants as researchers themselves by taking photos, mapping the images, and re-imagining how local governments could better support the health of rural families.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE HPRS DISSERTATION AWARDS, CLICK HERE.

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