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Irene Headen, PhD, MS

Postdoctoral Research Fellow


Irene Headen, PhD, MS is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Drexel Urban Health Collaborative at the Dornsife School of Public Health. Her research interests center around the social and structural determinants of racial/ethnic disparities in pregnancy outcomes. Dr. Headen’s work investigates how differences in exposure to neighborhoods and other urban environments across the life course impact inequities in adverse pregnancy outcomes and their risk factors. Her doctoral work examined associations between long-term trajectories of neighborhood deprivation and women’s risk of gaining too much or too little weight during pregnancy, both of which have adverse implications for maternal and infant health.

Previously, as a Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Centers of Excellence Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, Dr. Headen studied how neighborhood environments interact with individual-level interventions to modify their effectiveness on pregnancy-related weight status. Her current work studies associations between place-based, early education initiatives, including Promise Neighborhoods, and maternal, child, and family health outcomes in low-income communities. Dr. Headen earned her bachelor of science in Brain and Cognitive Sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a master of science and doctorate in epidemiology from the University of California, Berkeley.