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Summer Fellow Studies Social Determinants of Health During COVID

October 5, 2020

This summer, Emma Cottrell, a psychology major with minors in chemistry and biology, researched the racial disparities of COVID-19 through the lens of the social determinants of health.

Emma Cottrell

Cottrell pursued this research because it touches on two very prevalent topics—racism and COVID-19—both topics that she was interested in learning more about. With hopes of pursuing a career in family medicine in Rochester, and because of the diversity of Rochester, Cottrell acknowledged the importance of having an understanding of underrepresentation in medicine so that she can work towards putting an end to racial inequalities and disparities in health care.

“The research conducted can bring attention to the inequities and racial disparities in health to many community stakeholders. Policy makers, health care providers, and other researchers can use the research to educate themselves on why we are seeing racial disparities in health and start to think about what they can do to help community of color in Monroe County,” she said.

Cottrell plans to continue to pursue this research topic in the future. She hopes to work through the Psychology Department Honors program to conduct a study on how allostatic load may be a biological factor contributing to the disparities that are being seen in health for minorities.

The biggest takeaway from her research was that it is okay to admit that you are not fully educated about something but are willing to learn.

“I realized the only way for me to learn and educate myself so that I can make a difference in my community is by admitting I needed to learn and do better for the black community and be a white ally,” she said.