Bio: I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA before moving to Atlanta, GA to attend Spelman College where I completed a B.A. in Sociology/Anthropology (pre-medicine). During this time, I was introduced to public health and specifically scholarship in Black Feminist Theory, Reproductive Justice, Critical Race Theory and gendered racism. My college thesis, "External Internalization" was a mixed-methods study of how multiple forms of oppression contributed to stressful life experiences for Black women during pregnancy. This was the beginning of a career in public health research and practice that I continue to this day. I later moved to North Carolina where I completed an MPH and PhD in Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, with a certificate in Health Equity. After completing my degrees, I had the opportunity to move back home to Pittsburgh as a Kellogg Health Scholar at the University of Pittsburgh. I am an Associate Professor of Epidemiology and also serve on the executive team of the Black Equity Coalition, former member of the Pennsylvania Maternal Mortality Review Committee, and Health Equity Editor for Block Chronicles.
Family: My maternal grandparents, the Pryors, were originally from Georgia and migrated North to Pittsburgh during historically what is known as the Great Black Migration. I am a Hall from my father's family, who was born and raised in the Homewood neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Over the past 15 years, I have been conducting work related to family history, lineage and oral narratives within my own family but also as a former collaborative researcher with the Stagville Descendants Council in Durham, NC. My three beautiful and creative children, Cairen, Adrah and Leilani, inspire me to have fun, laugh and marvel at everything around me. My partner, Dr. Jason C. Mendez, is a writer, play-wright, producer and co-founder of Block Chronicles.
I am a researcher, writer, public speaker and advocate in the areas of reproductive justice, maternal and child health and health equity. I am a tenured Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health. My work focuses on the complex intersections between multiple forms of oppression, stress and place in understanding Black maternal and infant health, women's health and racial/ethnic health inequities.