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Alasia Ledford, MDiv, BSN, RN and Martha Grace Cromeens JD, BSN, RN utilized the Hillman Interdisciplinary Inquiry Fellowship funds to attend the 2019 Qualitative Research Summer Intensive (QRSI) hosted by UNC’s Odum Institute for Research in Social Science and Research Talk, Inc. QRSI is an internationally recognized week-long program of courses in qualitative methods. The intensive coursework offers a rare opportunity to learn theoretical and methodological approaches to qualitative inquiry. The QRSI offers foundational courses in qualitative research, but also unique opportunities in workshopping, novel approaches, innovative methods, and current topics. Courses are taught by leading authorities in the field of qualitative research. It also provides an unparalleled chance for networking with qualitative experts from multiple disciplines.

Becoming a leading nurse scientist in implementation science remains one of Ms. Ledford’s primary professional goals.  She believes the rigorous and systematic application of implementation science approaches has the potential to significantly impact and reverse health disparities and inequities in the field of maternal and child health. Her dissertation topic centers on the application of implementation science frameworks on the integration of evidenced based mental health interventions within home visiting programs for women and children at risk for adverse health outcomes.  Among the rich and diverse QRSI courses offered, Ms. Ledford chose to focus on learning how to use qualitative research methods within implementation science to improve policy and practice, synthesizing qualitative data, and integrating qualitative and quantitative data. The coursework taken allowed her to refine her dissertation research questions and study design. It also inspired her to continue to explore the intersection and application of qualitative inquiry and mixed methods within implementation science.  Her experiences at QRSI also allowed her to connect with some of the leading figures in implementation science and qualitative inquiry and participate in collaborative learning with peers,professors and professionals in the private sector.

Ms. Cromeens’s research focuses on qualitative inquiry into pathways to diagnosis for women with endometriosis. The QRSI coursework furthered her understanding of leveraging qualitative methods for research into health disparities, health equity, and social justice. She participated in two courses to further skills in synthesizing qualitative data and using qualitative methods to contribute to social justice. These courses directly influenced the design and methods of her study into women’s pathways to diagnosis of endometriosis. A third course involved workshopping a research agenda. This class helped Ms.Cromeens develop a plan for her long-term research goals and future career as an independent researcher focused on health equity. Martha Grace also formed lasting professional relationships at QRSI and looks forward to future collaborations.


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