Aster Tecle, a native of Eritrea who is an assistant professor in the College of Social Work at the University of Utah, is the co-leader of a new project that will provide support for pregnant women in Salt Lake City who are refugees from Africa. The Perinatal Community Health Workers to Support African Refugee Women and Families will train other African women to provide appropriate information, assistance, and prenatal care.
Research has shown that African refugee women in the area tend to have lower levels of prenatal care and experience more pregnancy-related health problems.
“While African refugee women are certainly not all alike, most do share similar cultural traditions,” explained Dr. Tecle. “Preventative care or health screenings are unknown concepts. Health concerns, cultural beliefs and preferences about pregnancy and birth may be in opposition to those common in western healthcare.”
Dr. Tecle holds a master’s degree in sustainable international development from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, and a second master’s degree and a doctoral degree in social welfare from the University of Washington.