Rollins Research Review: Medication Abortion Knowledge, Pollen and Cardiovascular Disease, and Cost-Effectiveness of Cancer Screening

March 27, 2024
Rollins Research Review

By Shelby Crosier

This month, Rollins researchers authored papers on a wealth of public health topics. Find summaries of a few highlights below.


Title:  My Health in My Hands: Improving Medication Abortion Knowledge and Closing Disparities with a Community-Led Media Intervention

Journal: Health Equity

Rollins Author: Hayley McMahon

Important Takeaways:

  • Most abortions in the U.S. are medication abortions, but misinformation about medication abortion is common, and awareness is low.
  • This study evaluated data from a pilot intervention, led by a community organization, to increase knowledge of medication abortion in Black and Latinx women in Georgia using a 3-minute animated video culturally tailored to that population.
  • Participants took a pre-test, watched the video, and then took a post-test immediately after to measure if the video changed their knowledge of medication abortion.
  • There was a significant increase in knowledge from pre- to post-test, which shows that culturally-tailored interventions using media can be effective in increasing awareness and knowledge of medication abortion in diverse audiences.


Tree Pollen

Title:  Associations of pollen and cardiovascular disease morbidity in Atlanta during 1993–2018

Journal: Environmental Epidemiology

Rollins Author: Brooke Lappe; Noah Scovronick, PhD; Rohan D’Souza; Howard Chang, PhD; Stefanie Ebelt, ScD

Important Takeaways:

  • 25% of adults in the U.S. suffer from respiratory illnesses—such as asthma and seasonal allergies—because of pollen exposure, but the effect of pollen on cardiovascular health is less studied.
  • This study examined daily pollen levels and emergency room visits for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in Atlanta from 1993 to 2018 to investigate whether there was an association between the two.
  • For most of the pollen types studied, there was no association between their daily level and CVD emergency room visits; the only significant associations found were with elm and pigweed pollen.
  • The findings confirm what previous studies found: there is limited evidence of a link between pollen exposure and cardiovascular illness.


Ashtray with cigarettes

Title:  Former smoking associated with epigenetic modifications in human granulosa cells among women undergoing assisted reproduction

Journal: Scientific Reports

Rollins Authors: Ziyin Tang; Audrey Gaskins, ScD; Robert Hood, PhD; Todd Everson, PhD

Important Takeaways:

  • Smoking is known to affect fertility in women, with current and previous smokers having lower fertility than women who have never smoked.
  • This study compared the granulosa cells (which are found inside ovaries) in women who were former smokers and those who had never smoked to see if there were differences in DNA methylation (a process that regulates how genes are expressed) in those cells that could affect fertility.
  • There were many differences in DNA methylation found between former smokers and never smokers, and some of the differences are known to be involved in inflammation, fertility, cardiovascular health, and cancer.
  • This shows that smoking may influence DNA methylation in granulosa cells even after someone stops smoking, which could have an effect on fertility or pregnancy outcomes.


Woman sitting with doctor 

Title:  Evaluation of the Cost-Effectiveness of Evidence-Based Interventions to Increase Female Breast and Cervical Cancer Screens: A Systematic Review

Journal: Cancers

Rollins Author: Victoria Phillips, DPhil; Kathleen Adams, PhD

Important Takeaways:

  • Every year, thousands of women die from breast and cervical cancers, but timely screening and diagnosis is very effective at preventing these deaths.
  • Researchers studied the cost-effectiveness of 11 evidence-based community outreach programs, which aimed to increase screening rates for these two cancers among low-income, uninsured, or otherwise under-resourced women who have lower screening rates.
  • The average cost to increase breast cancer screening using outreach for one additional woman was $545, while for cervical cancer the average cost was $197; however, there was significant variation between interventions depending on the approach, location, and population.
  • Because cost-effectiveness varied so much between programs, it is not a reliable way to allocate funding for breast and cervical cancer screening outreach interventions