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College of Nursing and Health Innovation | The University of Texas at ArlingtonCollege of Nursing and Health Innovation | The University of Texas at Arlington


Touching Lives. Transforming Health Care.

Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Equity Lab


Dr. Priscila Caçola

Dr. Kyrah Brown
Assistant Professor,
Public Health Program,
Department of Kinesiology

UTA Profile

Research Team Office: Physical Education Building, Room 101

Why Maternal and Child Health Equity?

Maternal and child health equity refers to the assurance of the conditions of optimal health and births for all people, with a willingness to address racial and social inequities in a sustained effort1. Persistent racial and social inequities in maternal and child health remains a significant public health issue. These inequities are driven largely by the conditions in which women are born, grow, live, work, and age. Black women, in particular, tend to experience higher rates of preventable chronic health conditions, maternal health complications, and adverse birth outcomes compared to other racial groups.

It is important to recognize that maternal health does not begin when a woman finds out she is pregnant; it is shaped by a lifetime of experiences that begin with the earliest exposure to social conditions. As the maternal and child health (MCH) field pushes to extend its focus beyond individual, biomedical factors, there continues to be a critical need for research investigating the impact of social and systems-level factors, including systematic racism, on Black women’s health across the life course and how these factors shape maternal and birth health outcomes.

About the Lab

The primary focus of this lab is to investigate the individual, community, and systems level factors that shape the health and birth outcomes of Black women across the life course. Our lab is specifically interested in conducting research that can be applied in community settings to reduce adverse health outcomes in Black women and leverage individual and community strengths that serve as protective factors. A combination of community-based participatory methods, secondary data analysis, and evaluation science is used to investigate the social and health system factors that disproportionately impact the health of Black women.

Research Interests

The primary research focus of the lab is to investigate the individual, community, and systems-level factors that shape women’s health and birth outcomes across the life course; and understand how these complex interactions can be addressed to reduce racial disparities.

Research interests include:

  • Cardiovascular and hypertensive disease in reproductive-age Black women
  • Maternal health (morbidity and mortality)
  • Women’s reproductive and sexual health
  • Perinatal and infant health
  • Health services research (quality, safety, delivery of care)
  • Community-based participatory research and evaluation

Are you a student who is interested in joining the MCH team? Click or tap here for more information.


Do you want to learn more about participating in our ongoing studies?
Click or tap here for the participant interest form.

Severe Maternal Morbidity and Perceived Maternal Care Quality
UTA Research Enhancement Program Grant

The purpose of this mixed-methods research study is to examine racial and socioeconomic differences in women’s experiences of severe complications (related to or aggravated by pregnancy) during or after childbirth as well as their perceptions of maternal care quality in Dallas and Tarrant County.

Black Women’s Health and Health Care Study

The purpose of this study is to examine trends in health and health care experiences among reproductive-age, preconception and interconception Black women in Texas.

The Mothers’ Voices Project

The purpose of this ongoing qualitative, lifecourse-informed study is to explore the lived experience of African American mothers who have experienced a fetal or infant death.

Dallas County Comprehensive Needs Assessment for HIV/AIDs Services (Ryan White Part A-Minority AIDS Initiative and Part B-HRSA/DSHS)

In partnership with Susan Wolfe and Associates, Inc., the purpose of this project is to conduct a comprehensive assessment of barriers, service gaps and unmet needs among service providers and priority populations in Dallas County, which include African American women. 


1: Definition adapted from the National Birth Equity Collaborative’ s definition of birth equity