Mamabus Project


Black Maternal Mobility in Western Massachusetts

About this Study

Maternal morbidity and mortality rates in the United States reveal alarming racial disparities, with Black women disproportionately affected. Among the contributing factors, transportation is a crucial determinant of adverse maternal outcomes. However, the extent to which transportation shapes pregnancy care experiences remains poorly understood. This study endeavors to investigate the transportation needs of Black pregnant women, identify factors that contribute to racial disparities in maternal health outcomes and pave the way for future research.

Through interviews and ride-along, participants will share their experiences, highlighting the impact of transportation barriers on their ability to seek timely and appropriate healthcare during pregnancy and provide researchers with firsthand observations of the transportation infrastructure and its impact on access to prenatal care respectively. Ultimately, our goal is to create a more equitable healthcare system that ensures all pregnant women, regardless of race, have access to timely, high-quality care.

Who can participate?

Women who:
  • Are Black/African American
  • Are 18 years or older
  • Reside in Western MA
  • Speak English
  • Are 20-36 weeks pregnant
  • Have already established prenatal care
  • Do not have a high risk pregnancy diagnosis

  • Participants will:

  • Take part in two interviews
  • Participate in a ride-along wherein the researchers travel with you to your prenatal appointment

  • The interviews and ride-along are 60 minutes each.


    Participants will be compensated $75 for each interview and ride-along, for a total of $225.


    This study is led by a team of researchers from the College of Engineering, Elaine Marieb College of Nursing, and the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts.

    • Dr. Shannon C. Roberts

    • Associate Professor

      Dr. Roberts is a trained Human Factors engineer with over 15 years of experience studying and evaluating the interaction between humans and systems in transportation safety and other domains. Her research program aims to improve the transportation experience for all road users, with a particular focus on vulnerable groups (e.g., teen drivers) and how the use of technology can improve mobility.
    • Dr. Lindiwe Sibeko

    • Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Nutrition

      Dr Lindiwe Sibeko's maternal and child health research interests are strongly influenced by her professional background in dietetics, breastfeeding lactation care and management, and community health programming for women and children vulnerable to health inequities. Her community-engaged work is focused on tackling breastfeeding inequities through initiatives that contribute to the increase of Black breastfeeding rates; a strategy that plays a significant protective role for mother- infant pairs at high risk for birth related morbidity and mortality. Using participatory methodologies, her research seeks to develop and test culturally specific interventions supportive of Black breastfeeding, and which mitigate early risk factors while improving mother and child health outcomes over the life course.
    • Dr. Lucinda Canty

    • Associate Professor and Director of Seedworks Health Equity in Nursing Program

      Lucinda is a mother, nurse, midwife, researcher, nurse educator, historian, a reproductive health justice activist, artist, and poet. Lucinda is deeply committed to improving the maternal health of Black women and other women of color. She has 27 years of experience in providing midwifery care. She exists in many lanes of nursing to address to improve health outcomes for women of color. Her experience as a clinician, researcher, and educator fuels her desire to address racism in nursing, midwifery, and the healthcare system. The goal of Lucinda's antiracism activism is to create change in practice, education, research, and policy. She advocates for women of color to have the resources and support they need to maintain their health and wellness. She has presented her research at various conferences and organizations.
    • Dr. Favorite Iradakunda

    • Assistant Professor

      Dr. Favorite Iradukunda is a nurse scholar who focuses on the intersection of multi-culturalism, immigration, and health outcomes for African diasporic women/birthing people and addressing maternal health disparities through community-centered and culturally congruent interventions. She is dedicated to transforming nursing education and practice through anti-colonial knowledge co-creation processes. Dr. Iradukunda advocates for the inclusion and centering contributions of minoritized and underrepresented nurses in Global Health leadership and for developing justice-centered and equitable collaborations in global nursing. For more information about Dr. Iradukunda’s work, please visit her website.
    • Ruth Appiah Kubi

    • Graduate Research Assistant

      Ruth Appiah Kubi is a Ph.D. student in Health Policy and Management with a minor in Epidemiology. Her research focuses on using diverse data types to understand maternal and child health issues globally and especially within the Ghanaian and American contexts. She is particularly interested in understanding how access to perinatal care, culturally competent healthcare delivery, nutritional health, and healthcare financing influence adverse obstetric and neonatal outcomes such as preterm births, gestational diabetes mellitus, infant deaths, and postpartum depression. Recently, her work is focused on examining the experiences of African immigrant women while they access and utilize maternity healthcare services in the United States.
    • Adrian Fontao

    • Undergraduate Research Assistant

      My name is Adrian Fontao, and I am going to be a fourth-year student at the University of California, Berkeley studying English and Integrative Biology. My research experience has mostly focused on ecological work, and I am hoping to combine this experience to further explore the intersection of health, the environment, and healthcare equity.
    • Will Bazile

    • Undergraduate Research Assistant

      My name is Will Bazile and I am a fourth-year at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst studying Industrial Engineering. My areas of interest are supply chain and decision analytics with a growing background in transportation. My goal with this experience is to further develop an understanding of how to improve systems and networks across a variety of different areas, positively impacting the industry and community.
    • Madison Perry

    • Undergraduate Research Assistant

      My name is Madison Perry, and I am a senior at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, studying Industrial Engineering. I am interested in pursuing a career which leverages my degree in areas of healthcare and human factors. This would also include research in the field of healthcare and human factors. This research opportunity will expand my knowledge and provide further research experience. It will afford me the opportunity to work with professionals and other students in a research setting who are focused on helping the healthcare community for black women in Western Massachusetts.

    Contact Us

    Interested in this study? Contact the researchers:

    Phone: 774-701-0033

    Email: mamabusproject@gmail.com

    Mamabus Project