Arden S. Handler, DrPH
Current Research Interests
My research career reflects my long-standing commitment to improving the health of women, children and families. Within this broad framework, my specific interests are the exploration of factors that increase the risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes and examination of the ways in which the healthcare delivery system, particularly prenatal care, can ameliorate these risks. As my interest in issues related to the delivery of prenatal care has primarily focused on low-income women, I also have a specific interest in the structure and functioning of the public health delivery system, particularly state and local public health agencies.
Prior to these activities, I completed two projects (PI- funded by Maternal and Child Health Bureau, co-PI funded by Robert Wood Johnson) examining the effect of welfare reform on low-income women’s insurance status and prenatal care utilization using Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) data from eight states. These analyses indicated that welfare reform had a significant impact on low-income women’s pre-pregnancy insurance status and entry into prenatal care. I also completed a study funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (Handler, PI) to investigate the relationship between prenatal care characteristics, satisfaction with the prenatal care experience, and the utilization of prenatal care among African-American women (Medicaid and non-Medicaid) who received prenatal care through a large managed care organization. This project was a follow-up to two studies, one qualitative and one quantitative, which examined the characteristics of prenatal care and satisfaction among women from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Through this prior effort, a prenatal care satisfaction scale was developed and validated.
I am co-Director and PI of the Maternal and Child Health Training Program and the Director of the MCH Epidemiology Program offered in both CHS and Epidemiology. My teaching efforts reflect my background in both epidemiology as well as policy and advocacy in Maternal and Child Health. I currently teach or co-teach: Maternal and Child Health Policy and Advocacy, Reproductive and Perinatal Health, Readings in Reproductive and Perinatal Epidemiology, and Maternal and Child Health Systems. I am also actively involved in the implementation of the leadership DrPH program at UIC.
I am actively involved in the MCH community on the local, state and national levels. I am a founding and continuing Board member of the Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition and serve on a number of local, state and national committees. These include the Illinois PRAMS Steering Committee, the Maternal and Child Health Information Resource Center, Graduate Student Internship Program Steering Committee, and the National MCH Epidemiology Awards selection committee.
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