During the summer of 2014, Notre Dame Spanish and pre-health major Nick Nissen traveled to Spain with finance and philosophy major Paul Grima to study the varied rates of cesarean sections across autonomous communities there.
Nissen and Grima worked with professors at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona to design the study. They then interviewed medical professionals and residents of Barcelona, Badajoz, and Bilbao, Spain to investigate the cultural and economic factors that affect childbirth decisions, especially related to the Spanish National Health System.
“In Extremadura, they have a cesarean rate of over 27%, whereas in País Vasco, they have a rate of just over 12%,” said Nissen. “There must be some things at play [in Extremadura] that are causing the level to be so high. That’s why we are going from region to region, trying to get an understanding of why these differences exist.”
Nissen and Grima received funding from the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts through its Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program, which provides financial support for students to engage in independent research or creative projects, or to present their research at conferences. “There would be no way I could do this entire research project without the help of this awesome grant,” said Nissen. “It’s allowed me to immerse myself in a culture, learn so much about it, and dive into a topic I’m really passionate about.”
You can also watch this video on YouTube.