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By Catherine Duncan
Born and raised in San Antonio, Aisha “Eesh” Silva wants to assist the underserved in her hometown. After earning her associate’s degree from St. Philip’s College, she decided to pursue her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the School of Nursing.
Acceptance into the nursing school’s SUNRISE program is confirming Silva’s decision to go on to earn a graduate degree so she can be a pediatric nurse and a nurse researcher in the community.
“The SUNRISE program is a chance to expand my education beyond what is normally offered at an undergraduate level in the area of research. This is my best opportunity to get an inside look at how research that shapes our clinical practice is done and an intimate look into a researcher’s thought process,” she said.
Lisa Cleveland, Ph.D., RN, CPNP, and Frank Puga, Ph.D., serve as Silva’s faculty mentors for her SUNRISE research project, “The Relationship between Early Childhood Trauma, Depressive Symptoms and Opioid Use in Latina Women.”
This research project is part of a larger study Drs. Cleveland and Puga are conducting entitled the Maternal Opioid Morbidity Study (MOMS), which is being funded by the Texas Health & Human Services Commission.
Texas has the highest maternal mortality rate in the country which means these women die during pregnancy or within a year of giving birth, Silva said.
Maternal opioid overdose death is the second leading cause of death in Texas—second only to maternal deaths caused by a cardiac event. Upon discovering this, Silva said she decided to focus her research on learning more about this population so targeted interventions could be developed to reduce mortality rates for this population.
“By interviewing and surveying these women, we can learn how to help future mothers and their babies. Research can help us make a difference,” she said.