Counseling research project will assess experiences of women of color in medical treatment settings

Investigating the experiences of women with invisible illnesses in medical settings: A comparison of intersectional identities
RANA YAGHMAIAN

Assistant Professor Rana Yaghmaian will expand her work in rehabilitation counseling with this new grant from the Dean’s Funds for Excellence.

It was the experience of a close family member that sent Yaghmaian’s career on this trajectory. This person lived nearly three decades with an undiagnosed autoimmune disorder, consistently being told by medical personnel that her symptoms were psychosomatic in nature.

Yaghmaian’s work focuses on women with chronic, ambiguous, and invisible illnesses. She states that there is very compelling evidence that women with chronic illnesses must constantly adapt to, negotiate, and interact with the social environment, specifically medical settings, in ways that are intimately connected to the intersection of gender and illness. Studies reveal that women in general are perceived as overly emotional and burdensome in medical settings, and Yaghmaian has stated that this is especially true for women with the types of conditions she studies. According to her research, when medical practitioners fail to diagnose a problem through conventional methods, women are often told legitimate physical symptoms are “all in your head.” As a result, women can feel invalidated and disempowered. This messaging leads to delayed and ineffective care, and could impact the individual’s ability to participate fully in important life roles and achieve good a quality of life. Yaghmaian will continue her line of research around this topic, specifically focusing on ways in which the experiences of women of color compare to those of women with privileged racial identities.

Yaghmaian plans to conduct her research using quantitative and qualitative research methodology, specifically investigating the experiences of women who seek conventional medical care. This grant will give Yaghmaian the opportunity to design and develop the project over the next year and to nurture University and community partnerships to collaborate and expand the work. Her ultimate goal is to organize a research team that can move the project forward for possible federal funding. This could provide opportunities for PSU students to work on an important project that is relevant to the community, and at the same time reflects the GSE’s and the University’s emphasis on diversity and social justice.

“The overarching purpose of this project, and the reason I’m so interested in this line of research, is that I want to use this work as part of my commitment to advocacy for women and women of color with chronic illness and disability,” said Yaghmaian. “I want to explore intersections of gender, race, and illness to ultimately improve quality of life for these women.”

Yaghmaian is the coordinator of the Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling program in the Counselor Education Department.

This is one of a 4-part series of projects funded by the 2018 Dean’s Fund for Excellence. For more information or to contribute to the Dean’s Fund for Excellence, or any other GSE fund, please contact Scott Shlaes, shlaess@psuf.org, or call 503-725-4789.

NEXT: Two ground-breaking GSE programs collaborate on “what’s possible?”

GSE 2017–18 Dean’s Fund for Excellence supports promising new research projects

The Dean’s Fund for Excellence allows the GSE to invest in opportune and beneficial projects that improve our school, our community, and the education profession. With these grants, GSE faculty members are able to initiate new projects that accelerate their scholarly agenda and can move them forward to seek greater funding sources.

“This is a significant investment in research for the GSE,” said Moti Hara, who is the new GSE Director of Research. “We are grateful for the dean’s leadership in making research a priority for our school.”

This year’s grant recipients address issues of diversity in a myriad of ways. Rana Yaghmaian wants to learn more about how women of color are perceived by traditional medical professionals. Amanda Sugimoto and Torrey Kulow are developing curriculum to help classroom teachers instigate math discussions with diverse K–12 students. Molly Siuty is leading a coaching project in the Secondary Dual Educator Program (SDEP) that will support students in the new Think College Inclusion Oregon project. Ingrid Anderson is at the cusp of a transformative project that will bring culturally responsive preschools to all of Multnomah County. Each of these projects reinforces the GSE’s mission to prepare our students for diverse learning environments.

Thanks to the hard work of this year’s grant review committee: Hanoch Livneh, faculty emeritus in Counselor Education; Ann Fullerton, professor in Special Education; Moti Hara, GSE Director of Research.

Read about each of these projects as they are posted on the GSE blog over the next week.

For more information or to contribute to the Dean’s Fund for Excellence, or any other GSE fund, please contact Scott Shlaes, shlaess@psuf.org, or call 503-725-4789.

New early childhood book published by Will Parnell

Professor Will Parnell, chair of the Curriculum and Instruction Department (CI), has published a new early childhood education book, Meaning Making in Early Childhood Research, a collection of 11 essays by 17 international early childhood teacher education researchers, professors, and teacher-researchers. He is co-author and editor of the book with Jeanne Marie Iorio, a senior lecturer in early childhood education at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia.

Meaning Making in Early Childhood Research (Routledge) asks readers to rethink research in early childhood education through qualitative research practices reflective of arts-based pedagogies. This collection explores how educators and researchers can move toward practices of meaning making in early childhood education. The text’s narrative style provides an intimate portrait of engaging in research that challenges assumptions and thinking in a variety of international contexts, and each chapter offers a way to engage in meaning making based on the experiences of young children, their families, and educators. Continue reading

Meyer Memorial Trust grant aims to increase diversity of educational leaders

The Meyer Memorial Trust has awarded the GSE $113,000 to fund Project LEAD (Leadership for Equity and Diversity), a two-year effort to increase diversity among Oregon’s school leaders. The project’s goal is to recruit and train school administrators of color, which will increase the pool of diverse school leaders in Oregon. Professors Deborah Peterson and Susan Carlile were instrumental in securing the grant and will lead this initiative in collaboration with colleagues in the Initial Administrator Licensure program. The project has the opportunity to change how the Graduate School of Education recruits and trains future educational leaders. The goals for the project are to recruit and mentor educators of color, to modify the existing program to prepare leadership for equity, and to influence policy and systems to benefit all students. The grant is part of the Trust’s Equitable Education Portfolio.

Over 36% of Oregon’s preK–12 student population are students of color. The Oregon Department of Education reports that only 10% of Oregon’s teachers and 11% of Oregon’s administrators are educators of color. To Carlile and Peterson, this disparity perpetuates a system of racism and inequity that benefits white students and harms bilingual and/or students of color who may never have a school leader reflecting their diversity.

In Oregon’s seven administrator preparation programs, only 9% of participants are educators of color. PSU intentionally recruits more bilingual future leaders and future leaders of color, which makes it a leader in the state. If successful, these efforts could more than double the overall number of Oregon administrators who are bilingual and/or leaders of color.

Project LEAD builds on previous work by faculty in the Educational Leadership and Policy department, which was originally funded by PSU’s Office of Global Diversity and Inclusion, the Oregon Department of Education, and the Chalkboard Project, and leverages the expertise of colleagues throughout the GSE. Continue reading

PSU Infant/Toddler Mental Health program nets $110,000 for scholarships

The Ford Family Foundation has awarded PSU funding for 10 students in the Infant/Toddler Mental Health (ITMH) Graduate Certificate program. This grant will support recipients in rural Oregon who are working with families who have children ages 0–36 months and will increase capacity in infant mental health throughout Oregon.

Ford Family Foundation Program Officer Robin Hill-Dunbar said, “Providing access to coursework related to infant mental health in rural Oregon is critical. It is a pleasure to support students in the pursuit of the PSU graduate certificate and the Infant/Toddler Mental Health Endorsement. Our youngest ones and their caregivers are counting on those who serve them to understand and be able to best support their complex and unique needs.”

The project is led by Professor Ingrid Anderson, who has over 25 years of experience administering early childhood programs locally and regionally. Faculty who teach in the program are practitioners in social work, migrant head start, early learning hubs, parent education, and research. Continue reading

Todd Cherner appointed to TSPC board

Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC) has a new member. Governor Kate Brown has appointed GSE Assistant Professor Todd Cherner to the commission.

TSPC is Oregon’s teacher licensing authority that sets policy and professional standards for Oregon educator programs. The commission consists of a 17-member board, each member serving for three years.

Cherner is a member of the Curriculum and Instruction department and teaches in the Graduate Teacher Education Program. He specializes in using technology to develop students’ literacy skills. He is a former high school English and journalism teacher who holds a master’s in secondary education from Clemson University and a PhD in teacher education from the University of Tennessee.

“With Todd’s intellect, his commitment to the profession, and his high degree of enthusiasm for offering a substantive contribution to the field, he is an excellent choice,” said Dean Marvin Lynn. “We are very proud of him.”