Faculty Profile

Belinda Needham

Belinda L. Needham, PhD, MA

  • Chair, Epidemiology
  • Associate Professor, Epidemiology

In general, members of socially disadvantaged groups have worse mental and physical health than those who have higher social status. Dr. Needham's work seeks to identify, explain, and reduce racial/ethnic, socioeconomic, gender, and sexual orientation health disparities. Her primary research goals are to use novel approaches to assess disparities across the life course and to identify the social structural, psychological, behavioral, and physiological mechanisms by which social disadvantage leads to poor health.

  • PhD, University of Texas at Austin, 2006
  • MA, University of Texas at Austin, 2002
  • BS, Texas A&M University, 1999

Research Interests:
Social epidemiology, health disparities, biodemography, aging and the life course

Research Projects:
Dr. Needham's first project uses data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to examine DNA methylation as a mechanism underlying racial/ethnic disparities in cardiovascular mortality.

Her second project uses data from birth records, newborn dried bloodspots, electronic surveys, and social media to examine the impact of indirect exposure to the Flint Water Crisis on Black-White disparities in birth outcomes in Michigan.

Her third project uses data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) to determine whether people who live in states with more racially discriminatory laws have worse cardiovascular health than people who live in states with fewer racially discriminatory laws.

Email: needhamb@umich.edu

Office: 734-764-5435

Address: 4659 SPH I
1415 Washington Heights
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

For media inquiries: sph.media@umich.edu

Areas of Expertise: Aging,  Health Equity,  Racism,  Social Epidemiology