Student brings awareness to menstrual health among Puget Sound’s homeless

Juanita High School student Ria Mahon. Courtesy photo

When Ria Mohan, a junior of Juanita High School in Kirkland, had to choose a topic of focus for a HOSA (Future Health Professionals) research competition, she wanted to focus on an issue close to her community — yet something that was not entirely visible to the public.

As a volunteer at Swedish Medical Center, Ria would often notice homeless people on the street and the encampments around the community. This would be the target population for her research on women’s health.

Specifically, she wanted to better understand the intersectionality between homeless women and menstrual health and sanitation.

To do this, she would collect survey data from 17 different shelters across the Puget Sound with the goal of trying to understand the state of menstrual health for women in these shelters and identify what resources were available to them.

What she found was that many shelters had little to no resources or ability to give menstrual sanitation products to women who needed them. Not only did they rarely have these products on hand, but they rarely received donations of these products, despite the fact that they are needed by women in the shelters.

Ria said she believes that the stigma surrounding menstruation and people’s unwillingness to talk about it is the reason why it has become such an under-resourced aspect of being homeless as a woman. She said the issue needs more public awareness brought to it, and women in these tough circumstances should be educated about their options and the resources available to them.

Ria submitted her findings to the HOSA competition and placed first at the state and internationals conference. She was awarded a $1,500 scholarship.

As she heads into her junior year of high school, Ria has already been making efforts and partnerships to increase both awareness surrounding the issue and the availability of these essential products. Ria has had discussions with groups like Seattle T2P2 to organize donation boxes for sanitary products that would be resourced to shelters in the area.

After high school, Ria plans on pursuing the pre-medical tract with aspirations of becoming a doctor.




In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@mi-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.mi-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

[flipp]

More in News

Seattle Children’s Hospital (Courtesy photo)
Seattle Children’s Hospital identifies racial disparities in infections, security response

The healthcare provider did not respond to multiple requests for data used to identify disparities.

Carpenters union members peacefully strike on Sept. 16 in downtown Bellevue (photo by Cameron Sheppard)
Carpenters union strike on pause after “illegal picketing activity”

Union spokesperson claims wildcat protestors harrassed and threatened violence.

t
Peter Rogoff to step down as Sound Transit CEO in 2022

Became CEO in 2016; search for replacement to begin

t
Mercer Island Women’s Club to hold virtual meeting on Oct. 6

The Mercer Island Women’s Club (MIWC) will hold a Zoom gathering at… Continue reading

File photo/Sound Publishing
Ban on single-use plastic bags in WA begins Oct. 1

Shoppers will have the choice to pay for a reusable plastic or recycled paper bag.

t
City re-elevates its Emergency Operations Center to Level 2 due to COVID

City manager has redirected more staff resources to support the center.

t
Council passes ordinance to partner with area shelters for outreach services

The Sophia Way and Congregations for the Homeless are located on the Eastside.

Photos from Emma Artz Instagram page at https://www.instagram.com/emma__artz/?hl=en
Juanita HS student is one of the best downhill mountain bike racers in the world

Emma Artz represented the US in one of the most difficult bike races, placing in top-15.

file photo
Housing and finance insiders call for subsidized housing families can own, instead of rent

Advocates say increasing homeownership will strengthen the community, build intergenerational wealth

Most Read