Four new Health Disparities Research Scholars joined the program in 2014.

Abiola Keller

Dr. Abiola Keller, clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Physicians Assistant Studies at Marquette University, was awarded a $100,000 New Connections grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This 2-year career development award will allow Dr. Keller to further examine the role of non-physicians in improving the quality of treatment of depression.

Prior to her appointment at Marquette University, Dr. Keller was a HDRS postdoctoral scholar at the Center for Women’s Health & Health Disparities Research. Dr. Keller will return to the University of Wisconsin on September 18th to present her research at the 2014 UW Women’s Health & Health Equity Research Lecture & Symposium. This event will also feature keynote speaker Dr. David A. Grimes, Clinical Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of North Carolina.

Jenny Higgins

Contraception Journal, brought to us by the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, recently published commentary on long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) by BIRCWH Fellow and UW Ob-Gyn Research Division Assistant Professor Jenny Higgins, PhD, MPH. In her commentary, Higgins highlights compelling advantages and possible drawbacks of LARC, and advocates for a reproductive justice approach to the promotion of LARC.

Sheryl Coley

Sheryl Coley completed her DrPh degree in Community Health Education at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro in 2014.. Her research interests include reducing health and health care disparities in maternal health, reproductive health, infant health, and adolescent health among underserved populations. As an HDRS postdoctoral Scholar, Dr. Coley is investigating the perceptions of prenatal care quality and prenatal care access of African American mothers, with a goal of reducing birth outcome disparities.

Chioun Lee

Chioun Lee obtained her PhD in Sociology from Rutgers University in 2012. She is committed to illuminating the role of gender, a key indicator of social inequality, in relationships between stressful life experiences and health disparities. Her research focuses on three domains: (a) differential exposure and vulnerability to life adversities (stress); (b) social, psychological, and behavioral mechanisms that link life adversities and health outcomes, including physiological risk for disease endpoints; and (c) resilience factors (social, psychological, behavioral) that may mitigate the health-compromising effects of life adversities. Her research is multidisciplinary, rooted in her doctoral training in sociology (medical sociology, mental health, aging and the life course), followed by postdoctoral training in population studies (biodemography) at Princeton University and health psychology (resilience and psychoneuroimmunology) at UW-Madison. She has employed advanced analytic techniques to multiple longitudinal studies of aging, focusing on life adversities in both early and later life.

Alyn McCarty

Alyn McCarty earned a MS in Population Health Sciences and a PhD in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 2014. Her research interests include: socioeconomic and racial/ethnic disparities in infant health; social capital and systems of maternal social support for disadvantaged populations; and statistical methods for causal inference. As an HDRS postdoctoral Scholar, Dr. McCarty is pursuing two related goals: first, to examine the reciprocal causal connections among postpartum depression, mothers’ help-seeking through the use of formal and informal social support systems, and infant feeding patterns, and second, to understand racial/ethnic disparities in the processes linking postpartum depression, systems of social support, and infant feeding patterns.

Edward Vargas

Edward Vargas obtained his Ph.D. in Public Affairs from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University (2010). Since then, he has held postdoctoral positions at the University of North Carolina and the Robert W. Johnson Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico. He has also held a visiting lecturer position at Indiana University. His research interests include the effects of poverty and inequality on the quality of life, focusing specifically on health, education, and social policy, and how these factors contribute to the well-being of vulnerable families. He also investigates the methodological issues involved in the quantitative study of race and ethnicity. As an HDRS postdoctoral Scholar, Dr. Vargas is investigating how socio-political, familial, and personal contexts that make up the Latino/a experience affect their physical and mental health. In particular, he is examining the effects of immigration policy and deportations on health, health hardships on the well-being of Latino/a families.

Selected Publications

Vargas E, Gabriel Sanchez, and Ballington Kinlock. (2015). The Enhanced Self-Reported Health Outcome Observed in Hispanics/Latinos who are Socially-Assigned as White is Dependent on Nativity. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, [Epub ahead of print]

Garbarski D. (2014). “Comparing self and maternal reports of adolescents' general health status: Do self and proxy reports differ in their relationships with covariates?” Qual Life Res. 2014 Mar 6. [Epub ahead of print].

Garbarski D. (2014). “The interplay between child and maternal health: reciprocal relationships and cumulative disadvantage during childhood and adolescence.” J Health Soc Behav. 2014 Mar;55(1):91-106.

Higgins, J.A., Davis, A.R. (2014). “Contraceptive sex-acceptability: A commentary, synopsis, and agenda for future research.” Contraception. [Epub ahead of print].

Keller AO, Gangnon R, Witt WP. (2013). “The Impact of Patient-Provider Communication and Language Spoken on Adequacy of Depression Treatment for U.S. Women.” Health Commun. 2013 Oct 22. [Epub ahead of print]

Keller AO, Gangnon R, Witt WP. (2013). “Favorable ratings of providers' communication behaviors among U.S. women with depression: a population-based study applying the behavioral model of health services use.” Womens Health Issues. Sep-Oct;23(5):e309-17.

Lindberg, S.M., Anderson, C.K. (2014) “Improving Gestational Weight Gain Counseling Through Meaningful Use of an Electronic Medical Record.” Matern Child Health J. Mar 14. [Epub ahead of print].

Rehm, J.L., Connor, E.L., Wolfgram, P.M., Eickhoff, J.C., Reeder, S.B., Allen, D.B. (Forthcoming). “Predicting non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in a racially and ethnically diverse cohort of girls.” Journal of Pediatrics.

Wakeel F, Witt WP, Wisk LE, Lu MC, Chao SM. (2014). “Racial and ethnic disparities in personal capital during pregnancy: findings from the 2007 Los Angeles Mommy and Baby (LAMB) study.” Matern Child Health J. Jan;18(1):209-22.

Wakeel F, Wisk LE, Gee R, Chao SM, Witt WP. (2013). “The balance between stress and personal capital during pregnancy and the relationship with adverse obstetric outcomes: findings from the 2007 Los Angeles Mommy and Baby (LAMB) study.” Arch Womens Ment Health. Dec;16(6):435-51.

Contact Us

Deborah Ehrenthal, MD, MPH

Deborah Ehrenthal, MD, MPH
Primary Investigator, Center for Women’s Health and Health Disparities Research

Phone: (608) 417-4224

Gloria E. Sarto, MD, PhD

Gloria E. Sarto, MD, PhD
Co-Investigator, Center for Women’s Health and Health Disparities Research

Phone: 608-262-7573