Susan Catherine Vonderheid

    Email Address:
    College: Nursing Department: Women, Child, and Family Health Sciences
    Title: Research Asst Prof
    Office: 312-996-7982
    Participating in the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Research Awards program: Yes

    Research Interest:
    Dr. Vonderheid's interests include the quality and costs of maternal-child health services to reduce health disparities, especially among low-income, ethnic minority women and their families.

    She is currently involved in the following main research activities: comparing the effectiveness of a group visit model of prenatal care (Centering Pregnancy) and individual prenatal care on maternal-infant health outcomes for women at several clinics across Illinois; and implementing group prenatal care at UIC's Center for Women's Health. The only randomized clinical trial of CenteringPregnancy found that the prematurity rate was significantly reduced for all women in the study and the reduction was even larger for African-American women. Now that these results suggest that CenteringPregnancy is efficacious under experimental conditions, it is important to determine whether this innovative model can be effective in real world clinical settings. Moreover, no previous study has examined the mechanisms through which CenteringPregnancy affects perinatal outcomes, which is essential for replication of this group care model. Dr. Vonderheid's study team is currently analyzing data from interviews with pregnant women. The study team collected data on a variety of information about pregnancy, postpartum care and infant care: health knowledge, health behaviors, prenatal weight gain, intention to breastfeed and to use the recommended infant sleep position, perceived stress, depressive symptoms, anxiety, prenatal care satisfaction, birth outcomes, breastfeeding initiation, use of the recommended infant sleep position, postpartum and infant health care utilization. Current findings from this study are being used to develop a grant proposal to examine mental health during the perinatal period. Learn more about Centering Pregnancy at

    Dr. Vonderheid's other main study examines the impact of the UIC Global Health Brigade (a student-led organization with missions in Central America) and student service learning experiences in Haiti clinics on the health of the communities served and the impact of these international experiences on the student-volunteer. Participants responded to short answer questions. We need to analyze these brief qualitative responses using content analysis.

    Minimum time commitment in hours per week: 8

    Qualifications of a Student:
    Great opportunities for highly organized,independent persons.
    Implementation of Group Care Position:

    Nursing student or other student who has completed all physical health requirements to work in clinic setting. Prefer some clinical experience and fluency in Spanish. Excellent verbal and written communication skills.

    Evaluation-Focused Position:

    Prefer experience with analysis using SPSS or SAS, proficient computer skills (e.g., Microsoft office); and has excellent verbal and written communication skills.

    Days and hours can be flexible; at least one weekly meeting with independent work on other days. Available for a minimum of 8 hours per week.

    Brief Summary of what is expected from the student:
    Implementation of Group Visit Prenatal Care Activities can include:

    Will support group visit logistics (e.g., set-up room, create welcome letters, make reminder calls to pregnant women), attend group visits to support, collect surveys from group participants, enter survey responses into database.

    Evaluation-Focused Activities can include:

    conduct basic statistical analysis (e.g., descriptive stats) of quantitative data and more advanced statistical analysis under supervision of Dr. Vonderheid and statistician; conduct content analysis of qualitative data; conduct literature searches and reviews; critique research studies; assist with grant and manuscript preparation, and other study-related activities to support the project(s).

    Students with international mission experience preferred for the analysis of qualitative data from the UIC Global Brigade and service-learning experience in Haiti clinics.

    Contact researcher via URE Email Webform

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