Faculty Mentor

Dr. Leona VandeVusse and Dr. Lisa Hanson, College of Nursing


Tamiah McCoy is a senior majoring in nursing with a minor in psychology. She is a recipient of Marquette University’s Ignatius Magis Scholarship. Tamiah volunteers for the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. She also serves as president of the local chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated. Upon graduation in May 2014, she plans to pursue both a master’s and doctoral degree in nursing.



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Background: A woman’s birth story allows each woman to tell her own perspectives about her experience of bringing a child into the world. As healthcare providers, it is always important to value listening to and learning from our clients. Researchers systematically analyzing birth stories can yield insights on ways to improve birthing experiences for women. This is especially important for African American women, who differentially encounter the most numerous health disparities of any racial group, with twice as much infant mortality than other groups.

Purpose: This study examined birth stories of African American women in order to gain insights from them to better meet their needs. In this way, healthcare providers may learn strategies to address health disparities.

Methods: A secondary analysis of five African American birth stories was conducted.

Findings: Three themes were identified from the women’s stories: (a) desire for continuous labor support, (b) preference for certain characteristics of healthcare providers (such as gender and race), and (c) reliance on spirituality for coping.

Conclusions: These findings highlight the importance of listening to and learning from women.

Clinical Relevance: Healthcare providers can likely improve the care of their patients by incorporating these themes into their methods of care. Understanding and taking action towards the unsaid needs of African American women experiencing childbirth can ultimately help health disparities get addressed.

Publication Date

Summer 2013


Maternal, Child Health and Neonatal Nursing

Tamiah N. McCoy - African American Women’s Birth Stories as Told To African American Women Interviewers