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Established in 2015, the HEARTs Research Group is an interdisciplinary multi-institution community of race and health scholars–undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral scholars and faculty–interrogating relationships between race, racism and mental and physical health outcomes.

The HEARTs Research Group promotes research and scholarship related to understanding why some groups, particularly socially minoritized racial and ethnic groups, live sicker and die sooner than others. Who gets to live longer healthier lives and who doesn’t? HEARTs is guided by several underlying themes: the conceptualization and measurement of racism as a social determinant of health; the embodiment of social stress with a focus on race-related stress, biological dysregulation and premature biological aging; and and the understanding of how race, gender, age and socioeconomic position intersect to impact health inequities.

HEARTs Team Members

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Affiliated Groups

Ongoing Projects

  • African American Women’s Heart & Health Study (AAWHHS), an observational cross-sectional study to examine associations between social-environmental stressors, physiologic stress and cardiometabolic risk among a community sample of midlife African American women residing in the San Francisco Bay area (n=200). Data include various measures of social and environmental stressors, a variety of biomarkers, a host of self-reported mental and physical health outcomes, and a rich collection of sociodemographics.
  • National Validation Study on Measures of Anticipatory Racism Stress, a nationally representative survey of African American women ages 25-64 in the U.S. Study includes measures of stress, coping, health behaviors and a variety of mental and physical health outcomes (self-reported mental and physical health, sleep quality, chronic disease, depression) (n=710).
  • UNCOVER Study – COVID19, a multi-city observational study examining how COVID-19 has impacted people’s everyday lives such as employment, income, housing, stress, health (n=3200).
  • UNCOVER Study – BLM, a multi-city observational study examining associations between the Black Lives Matter movement and contextual level racial sentiment.
  • Measures of Racism and Social Status (MORSS), a qualitative study exploring perceptions and experiences of racism among African American and European American women of reproductive age. Ongoing work is focused the measurement of racism and implications for validity in epidemiologic studies.
  • Jackson Heart Study (JHS), the largest single-site, community-based epidemiologic investigation of environmental and genetic factors associated with cardiovascular disease among African Americans ever undertaken. The JHS is a community-based cohort study evaluating the etiology of cardiovascular, renal, and respiratory diseases among African Americans residing in the three counties (Hinds, Madison, and Rankin) that make up the Jackson, Mississippi metropolitan area. Data and biologic materials have been collected from 5306 Blacks and whites ages 35-84 at baseline (2000-2004) with two follow up examinations and another wave currently underway. Ongoing work examines psychosocial stress, early menarche and cardiometabolic risk.
  • Collective Racial Bias and Cardiovascular Risk Among Black and White US Adults, a NIH-NHLBI funded dissertation (PI: E Michaels) applying various big data approaches to measure county-level racial bias and exploring associations with self-reported racial discrimination and cardiovascular risk progression through midlife among Black and White adults in the United States.
  • Conceptualization and measurement of the physiologic and metal health impacts of monoracism on young multiracial adults: a study using causal inference methods to estimate the average treatment effect of experiencing monoracial identity assumption – a form of monoracial microaggression – on measures of allostatic load, anxiety, and depressive symptomatology through early adulthood.
  • Estimation of the undercounts of multiracial mortality in the US: a study to quantify the presence of structural monoracism using vital records. Counts of multiracial deaths as determined by race coded on death certificates will be compared to a life table-based model of expected counts of multiracial deaths. Variation in the proportion of misclassified multiracial decedents will give a quantitative assessment of the presence of structural monoracism.

Published Work

In the News

 

Invited Talks

  • Amani Allen –
    The Consequences of Systemic Racism in Science and Steps Toward a Better Future
    Oral Presentation, AAAS Science and Technology Policy Forum, October, 2020. The Forum is organized with the AAAS Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy.

Conference Presentations

  • “Area-Level Racial Prejudice and Health: A Systematic Review”. Poster Presentation, International Association for Population Health Science. Virtual Conference, September 2020.  [Michaels, E*, Board, C, Mujahid, M, Riddell, C, Johnson, R, Allen, A.
  • “Area-Level Racial Prejudice and Health: A Systematic Review”. Oral Presentation, American Public Health Association. Virtual Conference, October 2020.  [Michaels, E*, Board, C, Mujahid, M, Riddell, C, Johnson, R, Allen, A.
  • “Investigating associations between self-reported racial discrimination and biological aging in African American women in the Bay Area.” Oral Thesis Defense, San Francisco State University — May 2019. [Sohail S*]
  • “Differential Associations between Racial Discrimination, Self-reported Health and Allostatic Load among Black Women: Implications for Clinical Assessment and Epidemiologic Studies.” Oral Presentation, Society of Behavioral Medicine Annual Meeting—March 2019. [Thomas M*, Michaels, E, Reeves A, Okuye, U, Price M, Hasson RE, Chae DH, Allen A].
  • “Association between Experiences of Discrimination and Telomere Length in African American women in the Bay Area”. Oral Presentation, California State University Research Competition- February 2019. [Sohail S*, Mendez R, Marquez-Magana L]
  • “Everyday racial discrimination and hypertension among midlife African American women: Do coping dispositions and behaviors modify?” Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association. Atlanta, GA. November 2017. [Michaels E*, Reeves A, Thomas M, Price M, Hasson RE, Chae DH, Allen A].
  • “Coding the Everyday Discrimination Scale: Implications for chronicity assessment and associations with hypertension and depressive symptomatology among a cross-section of midlife African American women”. Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association. Atlanta, GA. November 2017. [Michaels E*, Thomas M, Reeves A, Price M, Hasson RE, Chae DH, Allen A].
  • “Association between Experiences of Discrimination and Telomere Length in African American women in the Bay Area”. Oral Presentation, Society for Advancement of Chicano and Native Americans (SACAS) — October 2017. [Sohail S*, Mendez R, Velasquez E, Marquez-Magana]
  • “Examining the independent effects of racial discrimination and general stress on systolic blood pressure: Data from the African American Women’s Heart Health Study”. Annual Meeting of the Society of Epidemiologic Research. Seattle, WA. June 2017. [Reeves AN*, Michaels E, Thomas M, Chae DH, Allen A].
  • “Benefits of Collecting Biospecimens: How to recruit and retain diverse participants.” Oral Presentation, UCSF Center for AIDS prevention- June 2017. [Sohail S*, Marquez-Magana L]
  • “The association between racial discrimination and early physiologic dysregulation amongst African American women: The African American Women’s Heart Health Study”. Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America. Chicago, IL. April 2017. [Allen AM, Thomas MT, Michaels EK, Reeves AN, Okoye U, Price MM, Hasson RE, Syme SL, Chae DH]
  • “Differential impacts of routine vs. non-routine experiences of racial discrimination on allostatic load among African American women”. Annual Meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine. San Diego, CA. March 2017. [Thomas M, Michaels E*, Reeves AN, Okoye U, Price MM, Hasson RE, Chae DH, Allen A.]
  • “Racial Discrimination and Allostatic Load Among Midlife African American Women”. Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association. Denver, Colorado. November 2016.  [Allen A, Thomas M*, Michaels, E, Reeves A, Okuye, U, Price M, Hasson RE, Chae DH].
  • “Racism as a social determinant of health: Measurement error and internal validity in epidemiologic studies”. Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association. Denver, Colorado. November 2016. [Allen, A].

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