Currently active projects include (as of Spring 2020):

1) Advancing novel methods to measure and analyze multiple types of discrimination for population health research

(NIH/NIMHD: 1R01MD012793-01A1; PI = Krieger)

This study seeks to advance methods to measure and analyze multiple types of discrimination for population health research by comparing novel implicit vs. conventional explicit measures of exposure to investigate different approaches to modeling exposure to multiple types of discrimination. Types of discrimination being addressed include discrimination based on: race/ethnicity (racism), sex/gender (sexism), sexual orientation (heterosexism), gender identity (gender binarism), age (ageism), and weight (fattism).

2) DNA Methylation & Adversity: Pathways from Exposures to Health Inequities

(NIH/NIMHD: 1R01MD014304-01; PI = Krieger)

This project will investigate how DNA methylation varies with exposure to racial discrimination, economic hardship, and air pollution, and how these changes may contribute to racial/ethnic and economic disparities in cardiometabolic disease risk and accelerated aging. The primary study population are participants in the My Body, My Story (MBMS) study (previous study led by Krieger, based on a random sample of members of 4 Boston community health center); the replication dataset is derived from MESA (Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis).

3) Spatial Uncertainty in Small Area Population Inference from Survey and Administrative Data

(NIH/NICHD: 1R01HD092580-01A1; PI = Waller/Emory)

Recent years have seen a rise in the use of small sample-based estimates and with much higher margins of error than in past studies. Our research program will develop novel statistical approaches to measure and adjust for these sources of local variability allowing increased accuracy and reliability in small area estimates of health risks. Analyses are also investigating the potential impact of the new US Census Bureau methodology of differential privacy (starting with the 2020 decennial census) on small area statistics.

4) Cancer and health equity

A 5-year series of investigations (2015-2020), to be carried out under the auspices of the American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professorship. The 3 empirical studies are on: (1) “Social inequalities in breast cancer estrogen receptor status: over time, across countries”; (2) “Methods to improve measuring and monitoring of cancer inequities”; and (3) “Methods to improve measures of adverse discrimination, relevant for cancer research.” The 4th project is conceptual, and is titled: “Cancer inequities & emergent embodied phenotypes: theory for causal analysis.”

Recently Completed Projects

Recently completed projects have included investigating the impact of historical redlining on: (a) cancer stage at diagnosis in Massachusetts and (b) risk of preterm birth in New York City.