Co-Director, Center for Social Epidemiology and Population Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (2018-present)
Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (2014 - present)
Research Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (2012 - 2014)
Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Alabama at Birmingham (2008-2012)
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholar, University of California, San Francisco and Berkeley (2006- 2008)
Ph.D., Sociology, The University of Texas at Austin, 2006
M.A., Sociology, The University of Texas at Austin, 2002
B.S., Sociology, Texas A&M University, 1999
Research Interests & Projects
My research focuses on health disparities. In general, members of socially disadvantaged groups have worse mental and physical health than those who have higher social status. My work seeks to identify, explain, and reduce racial/ethnic, socioeconomic, gender, and sexual orientation health disparities. My primary research goals are to use novel approaches to assess health disparities across the life course and to identify the social structural, psychological, behavioral, and physiological mechanisms by which social disadvantage leads to health disparities. I am currently Multiple PI of an R01 award from NIMHD to examine race/ethnic differences in DNA methylation as a mechanism underlying racial/ethnic disparities in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. I am also multiple PI of an R21 award from NIMHD to examine whether second-hand exposure to the Flint Water Crisis during pregnancy exacerbated racial/ethnic disparities in birth outcomes in Michigan.
Needham, Belinda L., Margaret T. Hicken, Ishtar O. Govia, Colter Mitchell, and Cleopatra
M. Abdou. 2017. “Maternal Social Disadvantage and Newborn Telomere Length in Archived
Dried Blood Spots from the Michigan Neonatal Biobank.” Biodemography and Social Biology
Needham, Belinda L., Jennifer A. Smith, Wei Zhao, Xu Wang, Bhramar Mukherjee, Sharon L.R. Kardia, Carol A. Shively, Teresa E. Seeman, Yongmei Liu, Ana V. Diez Roux. 2015. "Life Course Socioeconomic Status and DNA Methylation in Genes Related to Stress Reactivity and Inflammation: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis." Epigenetics 10:958-969.
Needham, Belinda L., David Rehkopf, Nancy Adler, Steven Gregorich, Jue Lin, Elizabeth H. Blackburn, and Elissa S. Epel. 2015. "Leukocyte Telomere Length and Mortality in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999-2002." Epidemiology 26:528-535.
Needham, Belinda L., Briana Mezuk, Natalie Bareis, Jue Lin, Elizabeth H.Blackburn, and Elissa S. Epel. 2015. "Depression, Anxiety, and Telomere Length in Young Adults: Evidence from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey." Molecular Psychiatry 20:520-528.
Needham, Belinda L., Ana Diez Roux, Chloe Bird, Ryan Bradley, Annette Fitzpatrick, David Jacobs, Pamela Ouyang, Teresa Seeman, Rebecca Thurston, Dhananjay Vaidya, and Steven Wang. 2014. "A Test of Biological and Behavioral Explanations for Gender Differences in Telomere Length: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis." Biodemography and Social Biology 60:156-173.
Needham, Belinda L., Judith E. Carroll, Ana V. Diez Roux, Annette L. Fitzpatrick, Kari Moore, and Teresa E. Seeman. 2014. "Neighborhood Characteristics and Leukocyte Telomere Length: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis." Health and Place 28:167-172.
Needham, Belinda L., Nancy Adler, Steven Gregorich, David Rehkopf, Jue Lin, Elizabeth Blackburn, and Elissa Epel. 2013. "Socioeconomic Status, Health Behavior, and Leukocyte Telomere Length in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999-2002." Social Science and Medicine 85:1-8.
Needham, Belinda L., Jose Fernandez, Elissa Epel, Jue Lin, and Elizabeth Blackburn. 2012. "Socioeconomic Status and Cell Aging in Children." Social Science and Medicine 74(12):1948-1951.
American Sociological Association
Population Association of America
Society for Epidemiologic Research