Carolina nursing student awarded F31 grant from the National Institutes of Health

Rebeca Harris

Carolina Nursing proudly celebrates Rebeca Harris, PhD candidate, on being awarded the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Individual Predoctoral Fellowship (F31).

Rebeca’s NIH-funded project, titled “The Role of Structural and Interpersonal Discrimination on Latina Mother and Child Immune Pathways,” will begin in September 2023.

Conducted under the guidance of Krista Perreira, PhD, Professor of Social Medicine in the UNC School of Medicine, and Hudson Santos, PhD, Vice Dean for Research Affairs, Dolores J. Chambreau Endowed Chair in Nursing, and professor at the University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies, this study aims to delve into the impact of interpersonal and structural discrimination on Latina mothers.

The focus will be on investigating the potential inflammation triggered in both the mother and her child due to immune dysregulation— a fundamental pathway linking psychosocial stress to disease. The project will also explore the potential for preventing chronic inflammatory health conditions by identifying and targeting maternal stressors through evidence-based interventions.

Harris’ research seeks to gain a deeper understanding of early-life social and biological interactions, presenting an opportunity to address social inequities and proactively alter health trajectories to mitigate costly health disparities.

“This award recognizes the importance of identifying needs and meaningful ways to promote health equity in the Latina community,” says Rebeca Harris. “It also allows me the gift of time for recruitment and primary data collection.”

With the support of the F31 grant, Rebeca Harris will have the opportunity to pursue her research aspirations and make significant contributions to advancing healthcare knowledge in a critical area.