Areas of Expertise & Civic Involvements
Margerison-Zilko’s research focuses on understanding the drivers of racial and socioeconomic disparities in women’s health across the life span, with a particular focus on pregnancy. For example, black women are one and a half to two times more likely to deliver infants preterm or at low birth weight compared to white women, and their infants are twice as likely to die in the first year of life—disparities that have persisted for decades with little to no improvement. She examines how the social and economic context of women’s lives influences their health prior to, during, and after pregnancy. Her teaching and mentoring also focuses on training the next generation of scholars devoted to understanding and reducing disparities in women’s health.
Finds that each one percent increase in the state unemployment rate in the first trimester of a woman’s pregnancy is associated with a 5% increase in odds of preterm delivery, an association that is amplified during the Great Recession to a 16% increase.
Comments on recent work demonstrating that pregnancy complications are associated with later-life cardiovascular disease in women; highlights the contributions of recent studies as well as important directions for future research.
Finds that employment- and housing-related sequelae of the Great Recession were associated with declines in fertility and self-rated health and increasing morbidity, psychological distress, and suicide.
Characterizes neighborhoods based on their own poverty trajectories from 1970-2010 and finds that women living in neighborhoods that have a long history of poverty—but not neighborhoods that have recently become poor—have higher odds of preterm birth compared to women living in neighborhoods that have a history of low poverty.
Finds that the odds of preterm birth among pregnancies at 33-36 weeks gestation in September 2001 were higher than statistically expected, suggesting that population-level stressors may extend gestation among late-term pregnancies.
Reports that non-Hispanic black women born in the U.S. after 1970 have experienced increasing risk of delivering a baby small for gestational age (SGA), despite declines in SGA among women born from 1950-1970. This work suggests a “cohort effect” wherein a health or social factor has negatively influenced the health of black women born after 1970 in the U.S.