Our health is influenced by numerous factors including the health care we receive and the social, economic, and physical environments in which we live. This is particularly true for women and their children. The long-term effects of pregnancy and early childhood point to the maternal and child health as a critical opportunity for interventions which have great impact on adult health as well as the health of the future generations.
Our lab conducts life course epidemiology and applied social sciences research designed to understand and improve the health of women, infants and families, with a focus on achieving health equity. Our research focuses on three intersecting areas of women’s and children’s health, where health disparities are of fundamental importance: perinatal health and health care, child health, and women’s cardiovascular disease. We explore the association of women’s health, health care, and community factors with perinatal outcomes to inform clinical and policy questions on the national agenda.
Our current research focus areas include:
- Maternal and infant health across the rural urban continuum
- Incidence and determinants of maternal morbidity and mortality
- Prenatal opioid use
- Racial disparities in infant mortality and preterm birth
- Maternal and family determinants of child health
- Contraception and family planning
- Pregnancy as a window to future health
Our research uses national data from vital statistics, the Pregnancy Risk Assessment and Monitoring System, and other representative cohorts. In addition, Big Data for Little Kids (BD4LK) integrates statewide administrative data from multiple Wisconsin agencies at the child level, including birth records, Medicaid claims, receipt of social services, and census data. We work in collaboration with investigators across campus including the Center for Demography and Ecology, the Institute for Research on Poverty, and the School of Human Ecology. The research and training conducted in our lab is supported by grants and contracts from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Wisconsin Partnership Program, the Institute for Research on Poverty, as well as University of Wisconsin-Madison.