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IBS Speaker Series: Katrina M. Walsemann
March 13 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Join in person or via Zoom, email firstname.lastname@example.org for the password. *Light lunch served at 11:45, please RSVP. Title: How educational inequities in the U.S. South pre and post Brown shape the cognitive status of Black and White adults Abstract: Although education is a key determinant of cognitive function, its role in determining Black-White disparities in cognitive function is unclear. This may be due, in part, to data limitations that have made it difficult to account for systemic educational inequities in the U.S. South experienced by Black adults. In this talk, I will present results from my ongoing projects funded by the NIA and the Alzheimer’s Association. These projects aim to determine how 1) educational inequities during the Jim Crow South and 2) expected exposure to state-level school desegregation in the post-Brown South shape cognitive function among Black and White adults. To address my aims, I link historical state-level data on school attendance, school term length, and school desegregation for the 16 states in the census-defined U.S. South to the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative, longitudinal study of U.S. adults over age 50. Bio: Katrina Walsemann is the Roger C. Lipitz Chair in Health Policy and Professor at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy and a Faculty Associate at the Maryland Population Research Center. She is a population health and life course scientist whose research examines the ways in which the U.S. education system creates, perpetuates, and reproduces health inequities. She has published extensively on how early school environments affect health and health behavior across the life course as well as how student debt influences the psychosocial health of young adults and their aging parents. Her current research explores how state and local educational contexts during childhood relate to cognitive impairment and dementia risk later in life. Fundamental to her research is an understanding of the historical and contemporary social policies that can create, reduce, or eliminate racial and social inequities in population health.