ALBANY, N.Y. (Dec. 15, 2022) — In the United States, Black mothers and their infants disproportionately experience negative health outcomes in the first postpartum year, compared to non-Black families. University at Albany researchers recently received $3 million from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to investigate social and environmental causes of these disparities. Findings from the five-year study will inform strategies aimed at improving Black maternal-infant health.
“Discrepancies in postpartum death rates among Black mothers and their children are staggering, yet the underlying causes have yet to be clarified,” said Betty Lin, assistant professor of psychology at UAlbany’s College of Arts and Sciences who will lead the interdisciplinary, multi-institution research team. “We are undertaking a comprehensive assessment of a range of social and environmental factors that can influence the health of Black families, with special attention to how various life course and pregnancy stress exposures, including racism and discrimination, can ‘get under the skin’ in ways that may affect not only Black women themselves, but also their infants and future generations of Black families.” Read more about JPB Fellow Betty Lin’s research.