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In a project to address opioid addiction among pregnant women, Ball State senior Natalie Hudanick of O’Fallon, Missouri, is working to make connections within the Muncie community to provide a healthy and safe environment for these expectant mothers.

“The goal for this project is to deepen our understanding of the opioid crisis among pregnant women within Delaware County,” Hudanick said. “To accomplish this, our class is looking at public attitudes, knowledge, and beliefs about maternal substance use. We will then develop a photo-voice display based on the information we gained to educate the community.”

A graduate of Fort Zumwalt North High School, Hudanick is collaborating with her classmates to analyze data and create questions to pose to community members to assess the current resources for pregnant women with opioid addiction and uncover gaps that might exist.

Pursuing her bachelor’s degree in anthropology with a minor in math, Hudanick hopes that this project makes a positive impact within the Muncie community. The project is mentored by Dr. Caitlyn Leonardson-Placek. The end photo-voice product will be a display of photos taken by the students related to the responses they get from community members explaining the need for resources in the community.

“I want to work in public health after graduate school and this project is a way for me to gain valuable skills and knowledge in understanding complicated health crises like the opioid crisis,” Hudanick said.

Hudanick, set to graduate in May, hopes to eventually work as a public health professional after attending graduate school. Her goal is to work for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or another national health organization.

“Ball State has given me many opportunities to become more involved in the community through volunteering and research projects,” Hudanick said. “Without this involvement, I may not have discovered what I wanted to do after graduation.”

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