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Demi Prisiclla Letsa, BSN RN (Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing), MPH (Boston University) is a PhD Candidate at the University of Ghana, School of Public Health, Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health.

Demi’s research work is focussed on the effects of chronic stress exposuure during pregancy on maternal mental heatlh  and birth outcomes in the Eastern Region of Ghana.

With the support of the ‘MPower: Empowering Mothers for Health’ Research Development Fund, Demi is writing a commentary article that seeks to address the vital role that maternal health literacy plays in stress management interventions in low resource settings. This paper will be presented to health professionals in 2 facilities in the Lower Manya Krobo District of Ghana. Also she is planning a “Stress Management during Pregnancy” workshop for local pregnant women in the district to help educate, empower and equip them with tools and techniques to manage stress during their pregnancy and  even beyond. Finally, findings from the article and workshops will be presented at a University wide conference hosted by the College of Health Sciences.



Danielle Muscat, B.Psych. (Hons: Class 1), PhD, is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Sydney, Australia and Westmead Lead of the Sydney Health Literacy Lab.

Danielle Muscat’s work is focused on improving health literacy among socially disadvantaged groups to empower them to be active participants in decisions about their health. With the support of the ‘MPower: Empowering Mothers for Health’ Research Development Fund, Danielle presented her doctoral work at the 15th International Conference on Communication in Healthcare & the Health Literacy Annual Research Conference 2017. This work involved the development and evaluation of a world-first health literacy program for Australian adults attending adult basic literacy courses in adult education centres across New South Wales. The program increased learners’ awareness of their rights to be involved in decision-making about their health and supported skill development across functional, communicative and critical health literacy domains.

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Dr Muscat’s poster presentation at Health Literacy Research Conference 2017.


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Sarita Panday, BSc Nursing (distinction, BPKIHS, Nepal), Masters in Public Health and Masters in Health Management (distinction, the University of New South Wales, Australia), PhD in Public Health (the University of Sheffield, UK), is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Politics, Sheffield Institute for International Development, the University of Sheffield, UK.

Dr Panday’s work is focused on improving health of the socially marginalized populations in rural Nepal. With the support of the ‘MPower: Empowering Mothers for Health’ Research Development Fund, Sarita has travelled to Nepal to share her key research findings from her PhD that looked at the role of Female Community Health Volunteers in maternal health service provision in Nepal. In mid February, she will be traveling to Dhading (Hill District) to meet and share her PhD findings with female health volunteers, local health workers and some service users. She is also planning to disseminate the information from her first paper on female volunteers that highlight the importance of female health volunteers to reach remote population, including the need for educational training and some form of financial incentives to support them. This is especially important if we want to improve access to healthcare services for women, as sometimes the female health volunteers are the only immediate healthcare providers for mothers and children in remote areas.

Check out Dr Panday’s blog about community health workers


Dr Panday sharing her key research findings with female community health workers and volunteers at a Primary Health Center in Gajuri Nepal.



Qiong Chen, BE, MS, is a doctoral candidate at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Nutrition Department.

Qiong is working on improving health literacy among Chinese women of reproductive age through interventions delivered by smartphone applications. TheMPower Early Career Research Fellows award enabled the implementation of the Why WAIT app usability study in China in summer 2017. This study tested the appropriateness of this lifestyle app among a small group of Chinese women who are at risk of gestational diabetes. Usability of the Why WAIT app was assessed among Chinese women considering their levels of eHealth literacy. The results indicated overall acceptable usability, however, culturally appropriate dietary recommendations are needed to improve the usability of the app among Chinese women.