RESEARCH

 

I am a doctoral trained epidemiologist and health equity researcher with extensive experience in the content areas of maternal and child health, reproductive justice, women's health and structural and social determinants of health. I apply novel methods and approaches in understanding, measuring and addressing racism, discrimination and other forms of oppression as it relates to health and well-being over the life-course. My most notable contribution is the development of novel measures of institutional racism in the form of "residential redlining" or home mortgage discrimination as key structural determinants shaping residential segregation, neighborhood environments and health. My research also includes "neighborhood effects" or place-based work, community-driven research approaches, ecological momentary assessment, program evaluation, mixed methods and qualitative inquiry (e.g., oral history, ethnography, intensive interviewing). My work has been funded by the Aetna Foundation, the Kellogg Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institutes of Health. Further information about my work and curriculum vitae (CV) can be found here.

Research Studies

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Postpartum Mothers Mobile Study (PMOMS) is an ongoing, innovative NHLBI R01-funded study that investigates the contributors to racial/ethnic inequities in weight after pregnancy and cardio metabolic health with a particular focus on the intersections between multiple forms of oppression, stress, and geography/place.

Home Visitation and the Effects of Perceived Racism on Adverse Birth Outcomes in Black Families is an ongoing study funded by the University of Pittsburgh Center for Social and Urban Research that will apply a mixed methods approach to understanding the experiences of racism and oppression among Healthy Start families and the ways in which the program supports families in addressing oppression.

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The Black Women, Femmes and Individuals Health Agenda and Project is an ongoing project/study funded by the University of Pittsburgh Momentum Fund. This project is designed to elevate ongoing work and institutions centering the health and well-being of Black women, femmes and individuals using an intersectional systems approach and reproductive justice lens.

The Community Infant Feeding Assessment: is an ongoing collaborative study with Healthy Start Inc., Pittsburgh funded by the University of Pittsburgh Clinical Translational Science Institute, which is using qualitative approaches to understanding infant feeding practices among Black families and to inform the work and practice of the Healthy Start Center for Urban Breastfeeding. It builds upon the pilot study, The Pittsburgh Black Breastfeeding Study.

Other Collaborative or Completed Projects: The CDC-Funded REACH Project Lifting Wellness for African Americans in Allegheny County, The CityMatch Funded BEST Allegheny Initiative, The Pittsburgh Study, The EMPOWER Study.

 

 

INSTRUCTION

My work as an educator/learner includes  content and methods designed to interrogate the structures, institutions and contexts that uplift and promote optimal health and those that contribute to adverse health, particularly the disproportionate burden on Black and Brown communities. I co-direct  a course, Social Epidemiology, which is an introduction to content, methods and approaches in the general area of social determinants of health equity from an epidemiologic perspective. I am also lecturer in the Health Equity Certificate and Curriculum and the Perinatal/Pediatric Epidemiology areas of emphasis at the University of Pittsburgh. I also co-design anti-racism content within the Pitt School of Medicine and in the Clinical Experiences Course. I also founded and direct the Maternal and Child Health Equity Scholars Program, designed for scholars from high school through early career faculty to develop expertise and collaborations in maternal and child health, reproductive justice and health equity. I have over a decade of experience teaching public health content in elementary, middle and high school settings.

 

Selected presentations:

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PRACTICE

 

The current global pandemic, COVID-19, and the historical and contemporary effects of anti-Black racism have resulted in a cosmic shift in health and well-being of populations across the world. I am actively engaged in the public health response to COVID-19 in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania through the Black COVID-19 Equity Coalition and the ACHD/DHS COVID-19 Advisory Task Force. I also provided testimony and input to three resolutions that passed in Pittsburgh, PA related to Racism as a Public Health Crisis. I have more than 20 years of experience in public health related practice including but not limited to serving as member of the Pennsylvania Maternal Mortality Review Committee, The BEST Allegheny Initiative and Advisory Member of Women Engaged. Further details are provided in the link at the bottom of the page (Curriculum Vitae).

BLOCK CHRONICLES

 

I serve as Health Equity Editor for Block Chronicles where I curate content at the intersections of health, well-being, education, and critical pedagogy. The content elevates and centers the brilliance of Black, Latinx, Indigenous and other communities of color.

Episode 2: Health Equity and COVID-19: AJAPO and refugee and immigrant populations in the Pittsburgh region.