Writing Women's Health

by Micah Castelo

Summer 2021

woman talking to a female counselor

Sally Kuykendall, Ph.D, interim chair and professor of health studies, says co-authoring encyclopedia entries with her undergraduate students gave them real-world experience in scholarly research and publishing.

Four undergraduates in the School of Health Studies and Education co-authored a set of encyclopedia entries with Sally Kuykendall, Ph.D., interim chair and professor of health studies. An opportunity to participate in the academic publication process and make their resumes stand out, it was also a chance to advocate for and contribute to a critical field of study: women’s health.

The students’ entries in the encyclopedia “Women’s Health: Understanding Issues and Influences” include “Deaf Gain” by Brittany Porter ’20, “Stress” by Kayla Schulingkamp ’20 and “Health Inequities and Health Disparities” by Alyssa Bentz ’21.


Autism Diagnosis Before Age 6


of girls


of boys


Priscilla Rodríguez ’20 researched the autism spectrum from the female perspective. “It’s a topic that’s not frequently spoken about,” Rodriguez says. “Most of the scientific research studies focus on male patients because the disorder is more commonly seen in males, yet females are affected very differently by it. I wanted to learn more about it myself, as well as educate others and advocate for this group of girls and women.”

Studies show that up to five times as many boys are diagnosed with autism than girls — that’s why information about women and the disorder is so hard to come by. According to the National Autistic Society, even if a woman’s symptoms are severe, she is less likely to be diagnosed because of male gender bias. By way of this project, the women were able to make a meaningful difference on issues like these. “I think what I enjoyed the most is how much I learned from my students,” Kuykendall says. “Throughout the years, I’ve seen a huge transition in some of the topics that they study. It’s interesting to me to see what has come to their awareness and interest.”