Dr. Rachel R. Hardeman is a tenured Associate Professor in the Division of Health Policy & Management, University of Minnesota, School of Public Health. She is a reproductive health equity researcher whose program of research applies the tools of population health science and health services research to elucidate a critical and complex determinant of health inequity—racism. Dr. Hardeman leverages the frameworks of critical race theory and reproductive justice to inform her equity-centered work which aims to build the empirical evidence of racism’s impact on health particularly for Black birthing people and their babies. Dr. Hardeman’s research includes a partnership with Roots Community Birth Center, in North Minneapolis, one of five Black-owned freestanding birth centers in the United States. Her work also examines the potential mental health impacts for Black birthing people when living in a community that has experienced the killing of an unarmed Black person by police. Published in journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine and the American Journal of Public Health, Dr. Hardeman’s research has elicited important conversations on the topics of culturally-centered care, police brutality and structural racism as a fundamental cause of health inequities. Her overarching goal is to contribute to a body of knowledge that links structural racism to health in a tangible way, identifies opportunities for intervention, and dismantles the systems, structures, and institutions that allow inequities to persist.
Dr. Hardeman is the 2019 awardee of the Dr. Josie R. Johnson Human Rights and Social Justice Award from the University of Minnesota and the 2020 recipient of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASSPH) Early Career Public Health Research Award. She was recently selected as a McKnight Presidential Fellow awarded for her excellence in research and scholarship, leadership. She is also active locally and nationally with organizations that seek to achieve health equity such as the Minnesota Maternal Mortality Review Committee and the Board of Directors for Planned Parenthood of the North Central States.
Dr. Hardeman earned an undergraduate degree in chemistry and Spanish from Xavier University of Louisiana, an MPH in Public Health Administration and Policy and a PhD in Health Services Research and Policy from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.