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Research Programs

Community Based Women’s Health Research Heading link

The Center for Research of Women and Gender (CRWG) recognizes the importance of addressing the specific health challenges experienced by minoritized women/persons both in urban and rural Illinois. We have been the lead or a collaborator in a number of studies, projects, and initiatives across Illinois.


CRWG has been a leader in community based maternal health work through our work with the Innovations to ImPROve Maternal OuTcomEs in Illinois (I PROMOTE-IL).

I PROMOTE-IL is a multi-faceted initiative aimed at improving maternal health and reducing maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity during pregnancy and through one year postpartum across Illinois (Funded through HRSA).

Emergency Department Maternal Health Toolkit

Additionally, CRWG has been the lead on an Illinois project to develop an educational toolkit for Emergency Departments. The goals are to: (1) ensure that every ED in Illinois asks every pregnancy-capable patient whether they are currently pregnant or have been pregnant within the past year, (2) document the patient’s pregnancy status in the medical record and (3) provide appropriate diagnosis, treatment, and referral as needed (Funded through IDPH).

Housing Insecurity for Pregnant and Postpartum Persons

We have also been funded to support the collection and analysis of quantitative and qualitative data gathered from multiple organizations and key stakeholders to describe housing needs among pregnant/postpartum people and families with children under the age of three in Illinois. This project seeks to understand and inform the full landscape of homelessness, unmet housing needs, and available housing services and resources for this population in Illinois. (Funded through Pritzker Foundation)

Melanated Group Midwifery Care

CRWG is collaborating on an innovative model of maternity health delivery Melanated Group Midwifer Care (MGMC) that incorporates four evidence-based strategies to improve maternal health care experiences for Black mothers: 1) Racial concordance matching Black midwives and Black patients to increase trust and patient satisfaction  2) Group prenatal care to improve social support, self-efficacy, and health literacy  3) Nurse navigation support during pregnancy and one year postpartum to connect patients to specialty care and wrap-around services  and 4) community-based postpartum doula support to address postpartum depression and increase linkages to healthcare for 12 months following birth. (Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute ((PCORI)) funded).

Promoting Health of Rural Women

CRWG has also been at the forefront of promoting health of rural women, through the US Department of Health and Human Services-funded Coalition for a Healthier Community grant, which aims to improve cardiovascular health in rural southern Illinois women. Informed by the experiences and knowledge of rural women, CRWG staff have designed, implemented, and evaluated behavioral interventions to reduce risk factors for chronic diseases. The success of those initial efforts provides critical groundwork for planned randomized trials of these behavioral interventions. CRWG is ideally positioned to continue this line of research because of its strong academic-community-government partnerships and its focus on community-based collaborative research. We extend our gratitude to our collaborators at the Illinois Department of Public Health Office of Women’s Health, the Southern Seven Health Department, local health centers, community and faith based organizations.

For more information about our work, please contact Lynda Warner.

Global Women's Health Heading link

The Center for Research on Women and Gender (CRWG) has established a firm global footprint in women’s health. Our global research focuses on reducing maternal mortality and morbidity through the prevention of postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) in low-resource settings.

Projects have included a study to compare two dosing strategies for use of misoprostol to prevent PPH in community-level births in rural India, and operations research to implement misoprostol distribution in Ghana, Nigeria, and Tanzania. CRWG has also collaborated in the development of tools, such as a blood collection drape, to aid in the recognition of PPH in low-resource settings. The PPH research has encouraged ministries of health to work on policies to better improve the lives of women.

Other initiatives include collaborations in New Zealand to improve maternal and child health among Maori women and their newborns. Additionally, CRWG has been involved in several studies in New Zealand to test the effectiveness of HPV self-testing to increase the uptake of cervical cancer screening. Some of this work has been replicated in Chicago with minoritized populations.