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URAC Presenter: Senior studies mortality, morbidity rates of Central American women

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Posted on Monday, April 19, 2021

Zoe Cable, one of the eight select podium presenters to be featured at this year’s Undergraduate Research and Arts Celebration (URAC) on Wednesday, April 21, will discuss her senior capstone project, “Maternal Morbidity and Mortality in Relation to the Economic and Social Status of Women in Central America.”

A senior Spanish and neuroscience major from Brookville, Pa., Cable studied Central America’s maternal morbidity and mortality rates—two statistics used to offer information about the status of women in a particular country as well as the nature of the healthcare system and available resources.

“Compared with other areas of the world such as Sub-Saharan Africa, the maternal mortality rates in Central America are pretty low, however, there is a lot of variability between countries in this small area of the world,” Cable said. “I wanted to look at the different factors that might play a role in raising or lowering the maternal mortality rate in a certain area to understand what makes countries with different rates alike and different. In doing so, I hope to better understand where different countries can improve to better serve their female citizens.”

In her research, Cable examined various reports on variables such as the economic status of women, female representation in politics, rates of occurrence of domestic abuse, education and literacy rates and the design of the healthcare system and availability of resources in three different countries.

“All of this information and more can tell us a lot about the status of women, both economically and socially, in each country. I compared these characteristics along with their maternal mortality rates to determine what variables could have contributed to a high or low rate of maternal mortality,” Cable said.

Cable, who wants to one day work in the global health sector, said this research project was a good introduction into that field.

“I'm very interested in women's health because I think women are largely underserved in the healthcare sector all over the world,” she said. “I think it is important to highlight the injustices women face and identify areas of improvement to better protect this population from unnecessary harm.”

Cable, a senior majoring in Spanish and neuroscience, was guided by her faculty sponsor and Professor of Spanish Dr. Jeffrey Bersett.

Following graduation, Cable will be working with a non-profit organization that serves refugee children from Central America while they await sponsorship in the United States. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in global health.

Westminster’s Drinko Center for Undergraduate Research financially supports undergraduate research through various grants aimed at either the undertaking of research and creative projects at Westminster College or the external presentation and dissemination of research and creative works at conferences. For more information about the Drinko Center, please contact Dr. Karen Resendes, director, at