My name is Adwoa Owusuah Boateng, and I am currently a Pennsylvania resident and an advocate for the oppressed and voiceless youth within my community. It is my heart’s greatest desire to continue to serve and speak out for the youth that is voiceless and oppressed in underserved areas worldwide, beginning with our country Ghana. I graduated from the California University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelors of Science degree in Science and Technology and Biological Sciences, with a minor in Sociology. I recently received my masters of Science degree in Rehabilitation Sciences. I am currently in the process of becoming the world’s best pediatric physician who specializes in adolescent gynecology. Currently, I work as a researcher at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and I deeply enjoy working in the field of Adolescent Medicine and community-based research. I spend most of my time serving as a mentor for adolescents, who are victims of sexual violence, and I volunteer at a women’s shelter to help women and their children find housing. Working in this field has been a humbling experience for me. I currently hold the position of coordinating a youth study to help young African American men and women find their power in their stories by diving into the conversation of masculinity, womanhood, and societal pressures that affect them on a daily basis. This program has brought out the best in me and I have learned great things about the youth as a whole.

As a researcher, in the Division of Young Adult and Adolescent Medicine, working with adolescents has given me the ability to consider the need of others, and implement a program of new and different ideas ensuring that the youth have a positive experience. As a researcher, I have been exposed to the myriad of complex tasks that have allowed me to expand my horizons of healthcare. I recently presented my research titled “Adolescent Relationship abuse and Contraceptive Behaviors Among Adolescent women”. This analysis uses data from a pilot study that draws a unique comparison between two violence prevention studies in lower resource neighborhoods.

“What are we actually doing to help our young people”? I ask myself this question every time I come in contact with young people in my community who have experienced similar trauma and one that I now ask myself concerning members of the Ghanaian community. In 2017, a hashtag was created entitled #Justice4Her, that brought attention to an incidence of sexual violence regarding a young 4-year-old in Ghana. This hit close to home for me, as I was also 4 years old when I experienced my trauma and led me to begin research on this topic in Ghana. While many public figures in the country raised awareness and were affected by this disturbing act, my research led me to find: a lack of social support and education, a lack of knowledge shared regarding consent rights, and inconsistent cultural language around sexual conversations, the perception of the perpetrator and the victim. As a leader, I want to begin the process of fulfilling this need for support by breaking the barriers and create greater awareness on this topic in Ghana.