Citing an analogy used by those in public health fields, Tina Bloom explains that health providers wait on the banks of the river to rescue people who have fallen in and are drowning. But Bloom wants to help more and help earlier. “At some point, you start to think about what’s happening upriver,” she says. As an assistant professor in the Sinclair School of Nursing, her research focuses on safety planning for women in abusive relationships; specifically, she is designing and testing a website that might help women find ways to lessen their danger.
Bloom’s other research focuses on what causes women stress. “What was very striking to me while talking to women for my dissertation study,” she recalls, is that “almost universally, one of their major stressors was that they felt very isolated and alone.” She plans to work with women in Missouri to compare various stress-inducing factors and work toward alleviation of their problems.
The purpose of my project is to measure corticosterone levels of the American toad (Bufo americanus). In my study the physiological effect of stress on the toad is quantified using a commercial kit called RIA. Currently, the only available option to measure hormones in amphibians involves long and complicated homemade assays. The result of my research provides an easy and quick method of measuring corticosterone levels for the American toad. In combination with continuing studies on the behavioral effects of habitat fragmentation and deforestation, the commercial RIA kit will be used to determine the impact of stress on population size and/or possible extinction.