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Katrina Walsemann

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Professor; Roger Lipitz Chair in Health Policy
Affiliations:

Dr. Walsemann is the Roger C. Lipitz Chair in Health Policy and professor in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, College Park, and a faculty associate at the Maryland Population Research Center.

Dr. Walsemann is a population health scientist with a particular focus on how the U.S. education system shapes individuals’ physical, mental, and cognitive health, independent from and in relation to other structural factors such as race/ethnicity, gender, and social class. She has published extensively on how early school environments affect health and health behavior across the life course as well as how student debt influences the psychosocial health of young adults and their aging parents. Her current research explores how state and local educational contexts during childhood relate to cognitive impairment and dementia risk later in life. Fundamental to her research is an understanding of the historical and contemporary social policies that can create, reduce, or eliminate racial and social inequities in population health.

She holds a Ph.D. and MPH in Health Behavior from the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health and completed a National Institute of Aging (NIA) post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan’s Population Studies Center. Prior to joining the School of Public Policy, she was associate professor of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior at the University of South Carolina and Founding Director of the Carolina Consortium on Health, Inequalities, and Populations.

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Maryland Population Research Center

Areas of Interest
  • Population health; aging & the life course; dementia; student debt; education & social policy; health in all policies

The major goal of this project is to determine if education operates differently to reduce risk for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) when it is attained under more (or less) advantaged educational contexts among Black and White older adults.We will address this goal through the creation of a rich, longitudinal data resource of state and local educational contexts that we will link to the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a nationally representative longitudinal study of U.S. adults over 50. We will estimate variation in these relationships by birth cohort and race.

Learn More about State and Local Educational Contexts of Older U.S. Adults and Their Association with Cognitive Impairment and Dementia

Our project will determine if state-level variation in the timing and completeness of school desegregation explains Black-White disparities in cognitive impairment and dementia among older adults who attended school in the US South. We will link historical data on state-level school desegregation efforts to the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults over 50. Our project will provide insights into broader trends in dementia prevalence and racial disparities in dementia, allowing us to identify the subgroups at greatest risk for dementia.

Learn More about State Desegregation Efforts and Black-White Disparities in Dementia