Meet Abhignya: She's crossing disciplines to advance women's healthcare

“I never thought I could do this type of research, and that it would be legitimate.”

Abhignya is tackling women’s health care from several angles; one of the most important is by uplifting overlooked voices. 

Her BPhil thesis looked at barriers to treatment for mothers with addiction, through their own perspectives about their care.  

“I wanted to bring mothers’ words to the forefront. It’s easy to look at the numbers. But what do people actually have to say about these interventions?”

“Access is not as easy as just having it available. There are still so many variables,” she said. And those variables are complex: She examined the interviews from public health, medical humanities, gender studies, and other academic angles. 

“There are holes in these interventions I wouldn’t have seen had I not looked across different disciplines. It made me realize how important it is to focus on what patients are feeling.”  

Reviewing history also helped put those feelings into context. 

“I watched these horrible midnight specials about ‘crack mothers,’ and how they were producing low-quality children. It was so inhumane. And it’s crazy, because some of those professionals are still alive — it was only 30 years ago!” 

Despite the challenges that still exist, she said it’s rewarding to see how far we’ve come since then. “It’s easy to think there’s no hope, because the bad news is so prevalent. But over time, things do change, and people are doing the research to help make sure it changes.” 

People like Abhignya. 

Want to cross academic boundaries, too?
The BPhil allows you to take the lead on your own research thesis, which will elevate your degree to the highest undergraduate distinction. 

Learn about the BPhil »