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Interdisciplinary Research

We design and conduct innovative interdisciplinary research in order to generate evidence-based recommendations for community advocates, policymakers, and public health practitioners interested in improving population health.

Women's Health

Addressing Racial Disparities in Maternal and Infant Mortality

MAC is proud to partner with the National Birth Equity Collaborative to conduct research and advocacy on the unacceptably high infant and maternal mortality rates experienced by black women and families in the US. We examine these deaths in context, exploring aspects of the neighborhoods, communities, and societies in which women live that influence the likelihood they will experience an infant loss or be at risk of death during pregnancy and postpartum. Our ultimate goal is the identification of factors that are amenable to community or policy-based interventions to improve population health and promote racial health equity. This work is supported in part by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health (R01HD092653)

Violence During Pregnancy and Postpartum

Through analysis of local, state, and nationwide data, we aim to raise awareness of homicide as a leading cause of death during pregnancy and postpartum. While homicide mortality rates consistently exceed mortality rates due to common obstetric causes of death, it receives less attention by public health and clinical efforts to reduce maternal mortality. This research suggests that improved violence screening and prevention services during prenatal care may reduce maternal death. This work is supported in part by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health (R01HD092653).

Surveillance Reports

MAC is proud to collaborate with the Newcomb College Institute at Tulane University on work to advance our shared goal of partnering with the New Orleans community to promote women's equality through a series of reports on the health of women and girls in Louisiana.

Place Matters

Healthy Neighborhoods Project

Dr. Katherine Theall leads The Healthy Neighborhoods Project (HNP), which is a collaborative effort between five organizations: Tulane University (Schools of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and Architecture), the Tulane Mary Amelia Women's Center, the Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies (IWES), Columbia University, and the City of New Orleans. HNP is aimed at testing a population level, community approach to better health, safety and well-being. Results will be aimed at developing scalable models that can be used in other cities and an overall goal of making all neighborhoods in New Orleans vibrant and thriving places to live. This research suggests that improved violence screening and prevention services during prenatal care may reduce maternal death. This work is supported in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (76131) and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health (R01HD095609)

Comprehensive Alcohol and HIV Research Center (CARC)

Dr. Katherine Theall is one of a team of Principal Investigators at the Comprehensive Alcohol Research Center (CARC), housed within the Louisiana State University’s Health Sciences Center. The scientific focus of the CARC is to conduct cutting-edge basic research on alcohol and HIV that can be translated into effective community-based interventions. CARC includes the ALIVE study, a dynamic longitudinal cohort of adults (18+ years) living with HIV in and around the New Orleans metro area. Data from this cohort will be used to develop a better understanding of the mechanism linking early life adversity and chronic psychosocial stress to HIV clinical outcomes and the potentially harmful role of coping behaviors including alcohol use. This research is particularly aimed at sex and gender differences in stress and clinical outcomes.Findings from this line of research will inform disease management and prevention efforts, providing critical information for targeted structural, individual-level, and multilevel interventions. This work is supported in part by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health (P60AA009803).

Healthy Beginnings

Healthy Beginnings is a system of care implemented in early care and education settings in New Orleans, Louisiana. This unique, community-based model is a partnership between the Mary Amelia Center, Educare New Orleans, and Daughters of Charity. This program integrates early childhood education and child health services in a coordinated approach for young children in their families with a vision to support children’s continuing health and development as they prepare to become successful learners throughout life. This system of care will provide young children and their families with access to health care by connecting them to health insurance coverage, medical and dental homes, and other specialty care as needed.

Policy and Society

Reproductive Rights and population health outcomes

Reproductive rights afford women the ability to decide the number, timing, and spacing of children, access to the information and resources needed to exercise voluntary choice, and the right to the highest attainable standard of health. Restrictions on women’s reproductive rights have the potential to shape women’s socioeconomic trajectories across their life course, with implications for population health. Ongoing research at MAC involves the impact of reproductive rights policies on maternal and child health outcomes across US states. We seek to identify policies that individually and collectively influence women’s risk for adverse birth outcomes, infant, and maternal mortality. This line of research is imperative to the passage of more evidence-based and less ideologically driven policy to protect the health of all women and children in this country. This work is supported in part by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health (R01HD096070).

Workplace Policies to support maternal and child health

MAC is a proud partner of Louisiana Families First, a statewide coalition of medical experts, businesses, families, and advocacy organizations who recognize the benefits paid leave will provide for Louisiana families, including improving infant and maternal health outcomes and supporting our growing aging population. Our research on the maternal and child health benefits of paid family leave and other workplace policies including reasonable accommodations for pregnant women and workplace breastfeeding support laws help to inform advocacy efforts that seek to facilitate the passage of state and federal legislation that guarantees all families have a chance to thrive

Advancing Health Equity

In collaboration with colleagues from the Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies, researchers at MAC represent the New Orleans team for the National Collaborative for Health Equity’s Building Capacity of Public Health to Advance Equity (BCPHAE) initiative. A W.K. Kellogg Foundation sponsored project, BCPHAE aims to identify opportunities and strategies that health departments can employ to advance racial, social, and health equity. We conducted a series of key informant interviews with local public health officials and their community partners and reviewed documentation of existing programs within and external to the New Orleans Health Department. Our goal is the identification of barriers, needs, and opportunities facing the Health Department in their work towards becoming a catalyst for health equity. Findings and recommendations emergent from this work will be disseminated locally and incorporated into a larger national report by the National Collaborative for Health Equity.