Structural Racism and Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Desired Pregnancies

Tiffany Green, University of WI-Madison

October 28, 2021 12:30 pm

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Racial/ethnic disparities span many aspects of reproductive health and wellbeing in the United States, including maternal morbidity/maternal mortality and birth outcomes. A growing number of studies have examined the contribution of structural racism to racial/ethnic disparities in reproductive health. However, we have a limited understanding of the underlying pathways through which structural racism affects reproductive health, including birth outcomes.

During this talk, Tiffany Green will discuss ongoing research investigating the links between structural racism and the ability to achieve intended births. This research studies the prenatal and early pregnancy period with a novel preconception cohort of users who track menstrual cycles and pregnancies using mobile device applications. In turn, these georeferenced data are linked to area-level information on markers of structural racism in housing: residential segregation and mortgage denial. We demonstrate that achieving intended births takes significantly longer for Black people than for white people and that structural racism appears to lengthen the path to parenthood for Black adults in the U.S.

Green is an assistant professor in the departments of Population Health Sciences and Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As an economist and population health scientist, her goal is to understand the causes and consequences of racial/ethnic disparities in health, particularly among maternal, child, and immigrant populations. Much of her research is focused on Black women who, regardless of how much income or education they have, are most likely to die from childbirth-related complications and give birth to babies who die before they are one year old. She applies methods from economics, demography, and health services research to document and unpack the sources of these disparities.

Green received her Ph.D. in economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received her BA in economics from Florida A&M University. She has published in a wide variety of peer-reviewed journals, including Economics and Human Biology, the Journal of Women’s Health and the American Journal of Public Health.

The Early Childhood Initiative seeks to bring together scholars to address early childhood challenges and produce world-class scholarship that will help maximize the potential of all children during their early years.