My research examines how U.S. political structures and governance render low-income communities of color structurally vulnerable to adverse health, environmental, and social outcomes. Currently, I am examining how the absence of a local government structure in disadvantaged unincorporated communities that rely solely on distal county government and electorate for decision-making impacts the distribution and quality of social determinants of health and health outcomes. Many of these communities are on the front lines of climate change and environmental injustice. However, little is understood about how their political structure may make unincorporated communities vulnerable to adverse health events.
I use mixed methods, including GIS, to conduct research studies in the San Joaquin Valley and, broadly, California and Texas. Additionally, I am interested in identifying productive methods for understanding the challenges of small hard-to-count populations. My research interests are grounded in over a decade of work alongside rural communities of color in the San Joaquin Valley, addressing racial and spatial health inequities associated with the built and social environment while working at a federally qualified healthcare center and non-profit organizations.
My dissertation - "The legal reproduction of infant health inequities in unincorporated communities" examined how governance of unincorporated communities impacts residents' health in California's Central Valley.
My work is inspired by the ingenuity, tireless work, and situated knowledge of residents throughout the Valley and in particular Madera Country.