Eileen Condon, who joined UConn School of Nursing’s faculty as an assistant professor in August, was recently recognized for her research on health inequities among marginalized families.
Condon’s publication, “Racial Discrimination, Mental Health, and Parenting Among African American Mothers of Preschool-Aged Children,” is one of five recipients of Yale School of Medicine’s inaugural Office of Health Equity Research (OHER) Awards for Yale Research Excellence. Condon earned her master’s degree and Ph.D. at Yale and completed postdoctoral training there before joining UConn. She is part of a cohort of new UConn faculty whose research and scholarship focuses on anti-racism, specifically individual, societal, and structural bias and disparities that impact communities of color.
“I am deeply honored to receive this award, and am indebted to my mentors and collaborators for their guidance and support throughout my training,” Condon says. “I believe that nurses can play a key role in preventing and reducing health inequities, and I am thrilled that this work was recognized by the Yale School of Medicine Office of Health Equity Research.”
Award candidates were selected from among early-stage researchers at Yale who had published papers in 2021 related to health equity. A review committee identified the top 25% of the hundreds of eligible papers considered. Of those 35 finalists, five received the OHER Award for Yale Research Excellence based on the significance of the study in advancing knowledge in the respective field and the potential impact of the research, the scientific rigor of the methodology, the novelty of the idea or approach, and the degree of community partner involvement and relevance.
“These five papers, including ‘Racial Discrimination, Mental Health, and Parenting Among African American Mothers of Preschool-Aged Children,’ were selected based on reviewer enthusiasm, reach, and representation of the broad range of health equity research underway at Yale,” the Yale School of Medicine said in a letter notifying Condon of her award. “Your study has proven to be an exceptional contributor to health equity research, and this award reflects the innovation and rigor with which you approached this work.”
“I believe that nurses can play a key role in preventing and reducing health inequities, and I am thrilled that this work was recognized …” — Eileen Condon
Condon’s program of research is focused on understanding intergenerational transmission of childhood adversity and protective factors among socioeconomically marginalized families. Inspired by her background as a family nurse practitioner working with underserved communities, the goal of her research is to identify novel interventions to promote health and reduce health inequities among marginalized families.
The publication that received the OHER Award reported the results of a secondary analysis of data from the Intergenerational Impact of Genetic and Psychological Factors on Blood Pressure (InterGEN) study. Condon and her coauthors evaluated 250 Black and African American mothers with preschool-aged children and examined associations between mothers’ experiences of racial discrimination, parenting, coping, and mental health.
Nearly 60% of the women reported experiencing racial discrimination. Lifetime experiences of perceived racial discrimination were associated with increased parenting stress, and this relationship was mediated by stress overload and depressive symptoms. However, mothers’ coping strategies, including social support and problem solving, did not mitigate the effects of racial discrimination on parenting stress.
“This study contributes to a growing body of evidence that demonstrates how racism creates and perpetuates racial inequities, beginning in early childhood,” Condon says. “Black and African American families experience disproportionate stressors due to systemic racism. Results of our study highlight the urgent need for investment in family-level interventions to support caregiver mental health, but most importantly, in systemic-level interventions to promote racial justice and eliminate structural racism.”
Condon is currently funded by a K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award from the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) of the National Institutes of Health. She and her team are currently seeking participants for their CARING Study: Childhood Adversity and Resilience in the Next Generation. The goal of the study is to understand the connections between stress, sleep, and child health and behavior.
“We are thrilled to have Dr. Condon as a member of our faculty and I congratulate her on this award,” School of Nursing Dean Deborah Chyun says. “Her research has a direct impact on the patients most in need of our help and I know this is just the beginning of her success.”