Shawnita Sealy-Jefferson, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor

Shawnita Sealy-Jefferson, PhD, MPH
In public health we have a moral imperative to fight for social justice. I find and help underdogs, and I say what needs to be said. I bring my whole self to everything that I do, because I think that matters.


1841 Neil Ave.
344 Cunz Hall
Columbus, OH 43210
Phone: 614-292-9534

Professional Overview

Dr. Sealy-Jefferson is the Principal Investigator and leader of the Social Epidemiology to Eliminate Disparities (SEED) Lab. The mission of the SEED Lab is to conduct high quality epidemiologic research to find solutions to the disproportionate burden of infant mortality among African American women. Dr. Sealy-Jefferson is a social epidemiologist whose primary research seeks solutions to the long-standing racial disparity in infant mortality, in which African American women are twice as likely as White women suffer an infant death. Specifically, Dr. Sealy-Jefferson’s research draws from the Reproductive Justice Framework and seeks to: (1) empirically document associations between systems of oppression and preterm birth (which is the leading cause of infant death), (2) explicate the intervening biologic, social, and psychosocial mechanisms, as well as (3) identify effect modifiers of these associations among African American women. The goal of her scholarship is to inform future intervention studies, policy change, and social activism. Dr. Sealy-Jefferson also has expertise in women’s health, urban health, and chronic disease epidemiology.


Postdoctoral Fellowship, Wayne State University
PhD, Epidemiological Sciences, University of Michigan, School of Public Health
MPH, Public Health Practice, Wayne State University
BS, Clinical Laboratory Science, Wayne State University

Selected Publications

Sealy-Jefferson, S., Cote, M.L., Chlebowski, R., Rexrode, K., Simon, M.S. Post-stroke Cancer Risk among Post-menopausal Women: The Women’s Health Initiative. (in press)Women’s Health Issues.

Misra, D.P., Slaughter-Acey, J., Giurgescu, C., Sealy-Jefferson, S., Nowak, A.. Why Do Black Women Experience Higher Rates of Preterm Birth? Current Epidemiology Reports (2017) 4: 83.

Sealy-Jefferson, S., Messer, L., Slaughter-Acey, J., Misra, D.P..Inter-relationships between objective and subjective measures of the residential environment among urban African American women. Annals of Epidemiology 27.3 (2017): 164-168.

Sealy-Jefferson, S., Slaughter-Acey, J., Caldwell, C.H., Kwarteng, J., Misra, D.P. Neighborhood Disadvantage and Preterm Delivery in Urban African Americans: The Impact of Religious Coping. SSM-Population Health. 2 (2016): 656-661.

Sealy-Jefferson, S., Giurgescu, C., Slaughter-Acey, J., Caldwell, C.H., Misra, D.P. Neighborhood Quality and Preterm Delivery among African American Women: The Mediating Role of Psychosocial Factors. J Urban Health. 2016 Dec;93(6):984-996

Siriam, U., LaCroix, A., Barrington, W., Corbie-Smith, G., Garcia, L., Going, S., LaMonte, M., Manson, J., Sealy-Jefferson, S., Stefanick, M., Waring, M., Seguin, R.A. The Relationship between Neighborhood Walkability and Adiposity in the Women’s Health Initiative Cohort. Am J Prev Med. 2016 May 17. pii: S0749-3797(16)30101-5. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2016.04.007. [Epub ahead of print]

Slaughter-Acey, J.C., Sealy-Jefferson, S., Helmkamp, L., Osypuk, T.L., Platt, R., Straughen, J.K., Dailey, R., Misra, D.P. Racism in the Form of Micro aggressions and the Risk of Preterm Birth among Black Women. Annals of Epidemiol. 2016 Jan;26(1):7-13.e1.doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2015.10.005. Epub 2015 Oct 17

Sealy-Jefferson, S., Vickers, J., Elam, A., Wilson, M.R. Racial and ethnic health disparities and the Affordable Care Act: A status update. J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2015 Dec 1;2(4):583-588. Epub 2015 Jul 3.

Sealy-Jefferson, S., Giurgescu, C., Misra, D.P., Osypuk, T.L.Perceived Physical and Social Residential Environment and Preterm Delivery in African American Women. Am J Epidemiol. 2015 Sep 15;182(6):485-93. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwv106. Epub 2015 Jul 9

Giurgescu, C.; Misra, D.P.; Sealy-Jefferson, S.; Howard-Caldwell, S.; Templin, T.N.; Slaughter, J.C.; Osypuk, T.L. The impact of neighborhood quality, perceived stress, and social support on depressive symptoms during pregnancy in African American women. Social Science and Medicine. 2015 Feb 16;130C:172-180. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.02.006.

Ruterbusch, JJ., Ali-Fehmi, R., Olson, S.H., Sealy-Jefferson, S., Rybicki, B.A., Hensley-Alford, S., Elshaikh, MA., Gaba, A.R., Schultz, D., Munkarah, A.R., Cote, M.L. Impact of Comorbid Conditions on Racial Disparities in Endometrial Cancer Survival. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2014 Dec;211(6):627.e1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2014.06.036. Epub 2014 Jun 19

Spracklen, C.N., Wallace, R.B., Sealy-Jefferson, S., Robinson, J.G., Freudenheim, J.L., Wellons, M.F., Saftlas, A.F., Snetselaar, L.G., Manson, J.E., Hou, L., Qi, L., Chelbowski, R.T., Ryckman, K.K. Birth Weight and Subsequent Risk of Cancer. Cancer Epidemiology. 2014 Aug 2. pii:S1877-7821(14)00130-1. Doi: 10.1016/j.canep.2014.07.004. Epub 2014 Aug 3.

Sealy-Jefferson, S., Hegner, K., Misra, D.P. Linking Non-traditional Physical Activity and Preterm Delivery in Urban African American Women. Womens Health Issues. 2014 Jul-Aug;24(4):e389-95. doi: 10.1016/j.whi.2014.04.007

Sealy-Jefferson, S., Gillespie, B.W., Aiello, A.E., Haan, M.N., Morgenstern, L.B., Lisabeth, L.D. Antibody levels to persistent pathogens and incident stroke in Mexican Americans. PLOS ONE.2013 June 14; 8(6):e65959.

Cote, M.L., Atikukke, G.,  Ruterbusch, J.J., Olson, S.H., Sealy-Jefferson, S., Rybicki, B.A., Hensley-Alford, S., Elshaikh, M.A., Gaba, A.R., Schultz, D., Munkarah, A.R., Haddad, R., Ali-Fehmi, R. Racial differences in oncogene mutations detected in early stage, low grade endometrial cancers. International Journal of Gynecological Cancer. 2012 Oct;22(8):1367-72.

Sealy-Jefferson, S., Wing, J.J., Sánchez, B., Brown, D.L., Meurer, W.J., Smith, M.A., Morgenstern, L.B., Lisabeth, L.D. Age and Ethnic-specific Sex Differences in Stroke Risk. Gender Medicine.2012 Apr; 9(2):121-128.

Lisabeth, L.D., Ahn, J.H., Chen J.J., Sealy-Jefferson, S., Burke J.F., Meliker J.R. Arsenic in Drinking Water and Stroke Hospitalizations in Michigan. Stroke. 2010 Nov;41(11):2499-504. Epub 2010 Oct 14.