Black Interdisciplinary Research Translating/Transforming Health

The BIRTTH Lab is Directed by Dr. Akila-Ka Ma'at (publishing as Jennifer R. Warren). 

Projects In Progress


Communicating Equity & Healing Justice (CEHJ) Research Lab

Recruiting Undergraduate & Graduate Students  



CEHJ research lab is an inspiring collection of scholars who seek to eliminate health inequities and disparities among Black women and within Black communities through critical interdisciplinary approaches to health and organizational communication.  


Our mission is to:


1.  Unpack the burden of intersectional oppressions and their contributions to health inequities and disparities 

2.  Integrate 'testifying'/voice into Black women's healing

3.  Co-translate research into meaningful community engagement

4.  Promote healing justice through critical consciousness-raising and advocacy


We are currently working on the uptake of racist ideology through the embodiment of stereotypes and enactment of oppressive beliefs to investigate the relationships of internalized or appropriated racial oppression to psychosocial factors, mental health, health behavior, and health outcomes. We draw upon these investigations and transcreation messaging to develop deep structure digital interventions to mitigate appropriated racism and self-stigmatizing behavior, particularly in Black women's perinatal health. Our research will be used to educate public health and health practitioners on the adverse health effects of appropriated racism and the importance of patient-centered care in identifying and navigating appropriated racism in healthcare. 


We draw upon multi-method community-based methodologies to provide a space for Black women to share their experiences and to collectively determine narratives that define and promote Black women's strength and identify healing justice practices that problematize social perceptions of Black women's resilience to foster greater personal and societal awareness of resilience factors and processes that come from and are supported by Black women.


The CEHJ Research Lab is committed to building community-based and interdisciplinary collaborations with diverse community members, faculty, and other stakeholders to better understand and promote Black women's health. We are also committed to mentoring diverse students in research to provide opportunities for growth, realization, and collaborative teamwork.


Some of our current research projects include:

  • Community Assessment of Racial Experiences and Stress (CARES) among Perinatal Black women

  • Black women making sense of resilience in health: A grounded theory systematic literature review

  • Developing a perinatal mobile application to improve Black birth outcomes

Ethical Statement for Reproductive Health Research

05May22_Small Afro Me.png

Dr. Akila-Ka Ma'at

Tianna Cobb.jpeg

Dr. Tianna Cobb
Assistant Director

Research Assistants:

  • Breonna Riddick, Doctoral Candidate, CHSS

  • J. Robinson, Doctoral Candidate, CHSS

  • Ashley Dawson, MPH Student, CHHS

  • Briana Dawson, MPH Student, CHHS

  • Noora Alvi, Neuroscience, Undergraduate OSCAR Student


External Collaborators:

  • Shane Rodney, Advanced Nursing Program, George Washington University

  • Sahana Natarajan, MA Biomedical Engineering, CAAHDER Research Program Associate


Faculty Collaborators:

  • Dr. Brittany Johson-Matthews, INSPIRE Lab, Computer Science, GMU

  • Dr. Amira Roess, Epidemiology and Community Health, GMU

  • Dr. Karen Grace, Nursing, GMU

  • Rebecca Vargas-Jackson, MD, Center for Health and Risk Communication, GMU.

  • Dr. Leah Adams, Psychology, GMU