I am a scholar, teacher, and mentor, dedicated to justice and kindness. I am also a parent and a relative, currently living on Dakota land (Mahto Bde). My people come from Germany, northern Minnesota (Wenji-maajijiwang), England, and France, and I bring my cultural inheritance and identity to my antiracism work.
Academically, I have been trained by many teachers. I earned my PhD at Harvard University, my MPA at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, and my BA at the University of Minnesota. I have also benefited tremendously from the wisdom of individuals with extraordinary lived experiences, including elders and community leaders, who have generously shared their knowledge with me. I want to honor many ways of knowing in my work.
I conduct research to inform the development, implementation, and evaluation of policy decisions that impact health care access and outcomes during critical times in people’s lives, including pregnancy and childbirth. The goal of my scholarly work is to contribute to the evidence base for clinical and policy strategies to advance racial, gender, and geographic equity and to collaborate with stakeholders in making policy change to address social determinants and structural injustice in order to facilitate improved health and well-being.
I have published my research in major journals such as Science, the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, Health Affairs, American Journal of Public Health, Medical Care, and the American Journal of Managed Care, and my work has been widely cited. But what matters more than publication is impact. Following my research and recommendations, new state and federal laws have allocated resources to improve access to evidence-based services for pregnant people, parents, infants, and families in communities that have long been affected by persistent inequities.
In addition to conducting research, I teach courses that build skills for effective engagement in the policy process, and work extensively with community organizations and state and federal policy makers on efforts to improve the health and well-being of individuals, families, and communities, starting at birth.