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.




Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@auburn-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.auburn-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

File photo.
Federal Way man arrested after fatal crash on SR 18

One killed, two others injured in Sunday night crash.

Auburn Police
Dog bites girl, threatens officer, officer shoots dog

On May 13, the Auburn Police Department was dispatched to the 1800… Continue reading

Teaser
Zoom panel discusses Jesse Sarey’s killing by Auburn police

Panelists include students from Harvard, Sarey’s family and local activists.

(Left to right) Sergey Alter poses on a forklift with Travis Parke, Seth Myers and Joe Drake at the Safeway distribution center where Alter works. Photo by Henry Stewart-Wood/Sound Publishing
Puget Sound Training Center hopes to help more Ukrainian refugees

Sergey Alter immigrated to the U.S. from Ukraine in 2001 and received training from the Puget Sound Training Center.

t
Bowen Scarff, founder of Kent Ford dealership, dies at age 94

Opened Bowen Scarff Ford in 1958; played large role in Kent community

This screenshot from Auburn Police Department bodycam footage shows an officer about to fire his weapon and kill dog on May 13, 2022.
Auburn police shoot dog, and owner claims it wasn’t justified

See videos of attack as well as bodycam footage of officer firing at dog.

File photo.
King County Council approves creation of Cannabis Safety Taskforce amid rash of dispensary robberies

The multi-agency task force will cooperate to find ways to improve safety in the cash-only industry.

Most Read