Student brings awareness to menstrual health among Puget Sound’s homeless

Juanita High School student Ria Mahon. Courtesy photo

When Ria Mohan, a junior of Juanita High School in Kirkland, had to choose a topic of focus for a HOSA (Future Health Professionals) research competition, she wanted to focus on an issue close to her community — yet something that was not entirely visible to the public.

As a volunteer at Swedish Medical Center, Ria would often notice homeless people on the street and the encampments around the community. This would be the target population for her research on women’s health.

Specifically, she wanted to better understand the intersectionality between homeless women and menstrual health and sanitation.

To do this, she would collect survey data from 17 different shelters across the Puget Sound with the goal of trying to understand the state of menstrual health for women in these shelters and identify what resources were available to them.

What she found was that many shelters had little to no resources or ability to give menstrual sanitation products to women who needed them. Not only did they rarely have these products on hand, but they rarely received donations of these products, despite the fact that they are needed by women in the shelters.

Ria said she believes that the stigma surrounding menstruation and people’s unwillingness to talk about it is the reason why it has become such an under-resourced aspect of being homeless as a woman. She said the issue needs more public awareness brought to it, and women in these tough circumstances should be educated about their options and the resources available to them.

Ria submitted her findings to the HOSA competition and placed first at the state and internationals conference. She was awarded a $1,500 scholarship.

As she heads into her junior year of high school, Ria has already been making efforts and partnerships to increase both awareness surrounding the issue and the availability of these essential products. Ria has had discussions with groups like Seattle T2P2 to organize donation boxes for sanitary products that would be resourced to shelters in the area.

After high school, Ria plans on pursuing the pre-medical tract with aspirations of becoming a doctor.




In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@issaquahreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.issaquahreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Patti Cole-Tindall (Courtesy of King County)
Patti Cole-Tindall is officially confirmed as the new King County Sheriff

After serving as the interim sheriff since January, the King County Council… Continue reading

World War II veterans in Auburn, Wash. File photo
Washington ranks 7th among states for number of World War II veterans

12,364 WWII veterans are living in the state, with a total population of 517,912 military veterans.

T
Use your King County library card to explore the outdoors

KCLS cardholders can check out a Discover Pass for two weeks to explore public lands.

Monkeypox virus. Photo courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control.
King County identifies first presumptive monkeypox case

The illness is not as easily transmitted compared to COVID-19, according to health officer.

Sand Lance Spawning Habitat Protection. (5th Life Productions/contributed photo)
2022 Nature’s Scorecard Report shows little progress on stormwater protections across Puget Sound

“We can’t simply focus on not getting worse,” said Mindy Roberts, Puget Sound Program Director.

File photo.
King County Council approves creation of Cannabis Safety Taskforce amid rash of dispensary robberies

The multi-agency task force will cooperate to find ways to improve safety in the cash-only industry.

Screenshot from ORCA website
New ORCA system launches for regional transit across the Puget Sound

Overhaul includes new website, mobile application and digital business account manager.

Judged by XII: A King County Local Dive podcast. The hands shown here belong to Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson, who has been charged with homicide in the 2019 death of Jesse Sarey.
JUDGED BY XII (Episode 4): Foster mom wants accountability in Auburn cop’s upcoming murder trial

Special podcast series explores Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson’s role in the death of Jesse Sarey.

Most Read