Welcome to our new Health Disparities Research Scholars! Our four new Scholars will be joining our program throughout the summer.

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 will complete her PhD in Community Health Education from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro early this summer. She is currently working as a research assistant for the TRIAD Center for Health Disparities and Vulnerable Population, in the UNC-G School of Nursing. 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, Coley will investigate the perceptions of prenatal care quality and prenatal care access of African American mothers, with a goal of reducing birth outcome disparities. Her start date is June 23rd.

Chioun Lee

Dr. Lee obtained her PhD in Sociology from Rutgers University in 2012. Since then, she has held a position as a postdoctoral research associate at Princeton University, working on multiple biological pathways linking socioeconomic factors to health among older adults. Her research interests include the long-term effects of early life adversities on health; racial and gender differences in the effects of stressors on health; gender- and race-specific psychosocial, behavioral, and biological mechanisms linking stress and health. As an HDRS postdoctoral Scholar, Dr. Lee will pursue two research agendas: first, examining combinations of stressors over the life course and how they differ by race and gender, and second, studying individual, family and community level factors that may help reduce the negative impacts of stress on health. Her state date is September 2nd.

Alyn McCarty

Alyn McCarty will complete her PhD in Sociology and her MS in Population Health Sciences from the University of Wisconsin – Madison this summer. 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, McCarty will pursue 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. Her start date is August 25th.

Edward Vargas

Dr. Vargas obtained his PhD in Public Affairs/Sociology from Indiana University in 2010. Since then, he has held teaching-focused postdoctoral positions at the University of North Carolina and the University of New Mexico, as well as a visiting lecturer position at Indiana University. He looks forward to having protected research time to focus on his research. 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, as well as the methodological issues involved in the quantitative study of race and ethnicity. As an HDRS postdoctoral Scholar, Dr. Vargas will focus on how socio-political, familial, and personal contexts that make up the Latino/a experience affect their physical and mental health. In particular, he will examine the effects of immigration policy on health, health hardships on the well-being of Latino/a families, and whether it is possible to quantitatively capture the lived experiences of Latinos/as. His start date is August 18th.

Selected Publications

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

Gloria E. Sarto, MD, PhD
Founder, Director of the Center for Women’s Health and Health Disparities Research

310 Midvale
Madison, WI 53705

Phone: 608-262-7573
Email: CWHDR@obgyn.wisc.edu