Student Named 2021 Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting Fellow
MPH student Rachael Sorcher will examine the pregnancy experiences of transgender and non-binary individuals in the United States.
Master of Public Health student Rachael Sorcher has been named a 2021 Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting Fellow.
Beginning this summer, Sorcher, a second-year student studying community assessment, program design, implementation, and evaluation, as well as global health, will use this opportunity to bridge her passions of storytelling and public health through an investigative project on the pregnancy experiences of transgender and non-binary individuals in the United States.
“There is a huge gap in research around respectful and gender-affirming maternity care,” says Sorcher. “Giving birth is a life-changing event, but the interpersonal and systemic challenges that transgender and non-binary individuals face during this time is grossly underreported. I am excited to have the opportunity to shed light on this topic, as well as highlight the work of physicians who are providing respectful and responsive care for these populations.”
Already, 2021 has been a record-breaking year for anti-transgender legislation, with 33 states introducing over 100 bills to restrict the rights of transgender people across the nation. Sorcher says this is a pivotal moment for transgender health and the fight for LGBTQIA+ equality that she hopes to help build momentum around through her project. “I hope to lift these individuals’ voices above the political noise and not only raise awareness about their stories but also deepen understanding of their unique—yet very similar—pregnancy needs.”
“Storytelling is a critical piece of the public health puzzle,” she says, “so getting the opportunity to explore the intersection between public health, journalism, and advocacy through real-world work is really a dream come true. This fellowship program is actually one of the reasons I was drawn to the School of Public Health in the first place.”
At SPH, Sorcher is a student ambassador, where she speaks with prospective students about her experiences at the School and why she chose to attend. She also is an active member of The Period Project at BUSPH and is beginning work on a sexual and reproductive health project with researchers at SPH and Boston Medical Center.
The Pulitzer Fellowship program is part of a long-standing collaboration that the School of Public Health has shared with the College of Communication and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting through Boston University’s Program for Global Health Storytelling. Pulitzer fellows explore the intersection of journalism and public health while developing a multimedia project on an underreported health crisis. BU students who enroll in the Global Health Storytelling course are eligible for the $5,000 fellowship. This year, Sorcher was selected along with COM student Daphne Mark, who will be reporting on mosquito-borne illness in Louisiana.