Our Body, Our Health

Our Body, Our Health team

Drs. Bean Robinson and Jennifer Connor were awarded a 5-year National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant (from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Institute of Child Health and Human Development) to study female genital cutting (aka female circumcision), sexual pain and sexual health.

The National Institutes of Health’s National Pain Strategy notes the importance of addressing pain in populations of color to reduce health disparities. One such population is female refugees who have experienced female genital cutting, which can contribute to sexual pain. Due to recent immigration patterns, there is an increase in girls and women in the U.S. healthcare system who have experienced female genital cutting. This research project will investigate factors that may contribute to the increased risk of developing chronic sexual pain among circumcised Somali American women living in Minnesota.

Our Body, Our Health is a community-based participatory action research (CBPAR) with qualitative and quantitative aims exploring sexual pain in Somali women living in the U.S. who have experienced female genital cutting (FGC). Its purpose is to understand how Somali American women who have had female circumcision cope with sexual pain, in order to help medical providers give high quality, culturally responsive care to their patients. The topic was chosen by community members.

The overall goal of the research is to gather information that may be used by mental health and medical professionals to provide culturally-sensitive and empirically-informed healthcare. In order to accomplish this goal, Drs. Robinson and Connor will partner with the community-based research organization, SoLaHmo, Smileys Family Medicine Clinic, and Community-University Health Care Center (CUHCC). They will collect data from Somali women 18-45 years who have been circumcised and their mothers via in-person face-to-face interviews (n=75) and 300 surveys via “talking computer” in Somali.


Photo (from left): Dr. Jennifer Connor, Dr. Bean Robinson, Amy Ash, Dr. Yiting Li, Fathi Ahmed

Photo by Purpose Madison


Community Partners: