BHSU Student Courtney Fisher Investigates Prenatal Health with Sanford Research


Courtney Fischer, exercise science major from Eagle Butte, recently completed a 10-week summer research experience with Sanford Research where she worked on maternal, infant, and childhood health studies. (submitted photo)

By Kimberly Talcott/BHSU

SPEARFISH… Black Hills State University student Courtney Fischer spent her summer working with scientists, researchers and patients conducting vital prenatal studies with Sanford Research in Rapid City.

Fischer, an exercise science major from Eagle Butte, completed the 10-week Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) program at Sanford Research. She worked on cutting-edge infant and childhood health studies and the SURE program was a great opportunity to work on multiple research projects with impacts for her major and future career in physical therapy.

Fischer presented the results of her work, “Exploring Prenatal Education and Resources in Western South Dakota,” during the 2016 Sanford Summer Research Symposium in Sioux Falls recently.

“This experience has definitely opened up more doors for my future and has given me skills I will be able to implement,” said Fischer. “This summer has been a great motivator; I have always aspired to help people and now I have skills necessary to make strides towards doing so.”

Fischer worked directly with scientists, research managers, and patients on a two-stage parent-report screening tool to assess risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder. She also worked on the Safe Passage Study examining the role of prenatal alcohol exposure in stillbirth and sudden infant death syndrome, the Safe Sleep program for infants, and a bereavement study.

“I have been able to see multiple research projects and their progress, each at different stages, from start to nearly finished,” said Fischer.

Fischer collected data from different prenatal education clinics in Western South Dakota. She recorded similarities and differences in the amount and type of content given to expectant mothers to help prepare future parents.

“I’m looking at ways I can suggest improvements and close gaps to better the preparation approaches in clinics,” said Fischer.

The research experience compliments Fischer’s internship last summer when she worked at Indian Health Services in her hometown of Eagle Butte. She worked directly with a physical therapist to learn the patient intake process, medical documentation, and assisted with warm-ups in both inpatient and outpatient settings.

“All my classes at BHSU have definitely helped prepare me for these opportunities,” said Fisher.

Categories: Health, Spearfish

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