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2015 Hellman Fellow

Monica R. McLemore

Analyzing the role of racism in women’s health (UCSF)

Monica McLemore is a Professor in the School of Nursing, an affiliated scientist with Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health, and a member of the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at UC San Francisco. Her research focuses on reproductive justice, and she uses nursing, public health, and policy approaches to develop, test, and deliver interventions that put women at the center of their healthcare.

During her 2015 Hellman Fellowship she led an innovative study to follow Black and Brown women from Oakland, CA over multiple time points during pregnancy. She and her team of researchers surveyed women about their stress, resilience, and coping strategies to clarify the factors contributing most directly to their health. The findings were not surprising — this cohort of women were both highly stressed and highly resilient. She also conducted dozens of interviews with women at risk for pre-term birth across three sites in California and further demonstrated that Black and Brown women have important recommendations for clinical research and suggestions for healthcare improvement. Four published manuscripts have resulted from this research.

Through work generated by my Hellman Fellowship, I was able to document the experiences of pregnant Black and Brown women in California and provide further evidence that when we center the most marginalized people, care improves for everyone.

– Monica R. McLemore

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