Research Associate Professor, Survey Research Center, Faculty Associate, Population Studies Center, Institute for Social Research and Research Associate Professor, Internal Medicine, Medical School
Broadly speaking, I examine the ways in which social forces link racial group membership to the risk of poor health, particularly those conditions related to cardiovascular and renal diseases. In the US, despite tremendous resources devoted to the elimination of health inequalities, evidence suggests that they are growing. I would argue that our inability to eliminate (or even reduce) these inequalities is due to a lack of truly interdisciplinary approaches. Throughout my research program, I ground my approach to the study of race in the social sciences while integrating the biological sciences to ensure that the mechanisms I examine are both socially- and biologically-plausible. Under this broad umbrella of social determinants of health inequalities, I maintain two distinct research themes.
Research Theme 1: Vigilance. Within the first research theme, I draw from traditions in sociology, cultural anthropology, and psychology to study the notion of “racism-related vigilance” or “vigilant coping style” and its relation to the health of Black Americans. Many hypothesize that stress plays an important role in health inequalities. However, the empirical literature is remarkably small with mixed results. I would argue that this is because we have not adequately conceptualized the types of social stress that are salient to Black Americans. Ethnographers and qualitative sociologists have long-documented thoughts and behaviors of their Black study participants in which they mentally prepare to negotiate social spaces in American society. Psychologists argue that this type of anticipatory and ruminative stress – or vigilance – is particularly toxic for health.
Research Theme 2: Social & Physical Environment. In my second research program, I examine the social and physical environment as drivers of racial health inequalities. My earlier work focused on the intersection of social adversity and environmental toxicants, supporting the notion that social adversity increases vulnerability to the health effects of environmental hazards. Over the past two years, I have begun to focus more on residential neighborhoods, particularly on racial segregation, as drivers of the racial health inequalities. Furthermore, I integrate social science information on segregation and neighborhood characteristics with biomedical information on genetics and molecular pathways that may link the social exposures to disease risk. Specifically, I examine gene-environment interactions that may drive racial inequalities in kidney disease, through the differences in gene expression of inflammation pathways, hypothesizing that inequities in neighborhood characteristics enhance genetic risk to result in disease inequalities.
- Jang, Joy Bohyun, Hicken, Margaret Takako, Mullins, Megan, Esposito, Michael Hughes, Sol,Ketlyne, Manly, Jennifer J, Judd, Suzanne, Wadley, Virginia, Clarke, Philippa J. 2021. Racial segregation and cognitive function among older adults in the United States: Findings from the REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B
- Gilbert C. Gee, Hicken, Margaret Takako. 2021. Structural Racism: The Rules and Relations of Inequity. Ethnicity & Disease (Suppl):293-300.
- Savannah Larimore, Mosi Ifatunji, Hedwig Lee, Rafferty, Jane, Jackson, James Sidney, Hicken, Margaret Takako. 2021. Geographic Variation in Reproductive Health Among the Black Population in the US: An Analysis of Nativity, Region of Origin, and Division of Residence. Population Research and Policy Review 40(1):33-59.
- Kate A. Duchowny, Hicken, Margaret Takako, Peggy M. Cawthon, M. Maria Glymour, Clarke, Philippa J. 2020. Life course trauma and muscle weakness in older adults by gender and race/ethnicity: Results from the U.S. health and Retirement Study. SSM - Population Health 11:100587.
- Hicken, Margaret Takako, Katz, Ronit , Peralta, Carmen A, Crews, Deidra C, Kramer, Holly J. 2019. Neighborhood Social Context and Kidney Function Over Time: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. American Journal of Kidney Diseases 73(5):585-595.
- Hicken, Margaret Takako, Mayne, Stephanie L, Merkin, Sharon Stein, Seeman, Teresa E, Kershaw, Kiarri N, Do, D P, Hajat, Anjum . 2019. Neighbourhood racial/ethnic residential segregation and cardiometabolic risk: the multiethnic study of atherosclerosis. Journal of epidemiology and community health 73(1):26-33.
- Schmitz, Lauren Lucia, Courtney L. McCluney, Sonnega, Amanda J, Hicken, Margaret Takako. 2019. Interpreting Subjective and Objective Measures of Job Resources: The Importance of Sociodemographic Context. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 16(17):3058.
- Schmitz, Lauren Lucia, Courtney L. McCluney, Sonnega, Amanda J, Hicken, Margaret Takako. 2019. Policy Levers May Improve Older Workers’ Perceptions of Their Psychosocial Work Environment: Research findings show that workplace policies can play a crucial role in the quality of older worker’s health and job longevity. Generations 43(3):78-85.
- Hicken, Margaret Takako, Morenoff, Jeffrey D, House, James S, Lee, Hedwig . 2019. Racial/ethnic Disparities in Hypertension Prevalence: Reconsidering the Role of Chronic Stress. Community Health Equity: A Chicago Reader :pp 173-244.
- Clarke, Philippa J, Hicken, Margaret Takako, Noppert, Grace, Wilson, Mark L. 2019. Understanding the intersection of race and place: the case of tuberculosis in Michigan. BMC Public Health 19(1):1669.
- Schmitz, Lauren Lucia, Sonnega, Amanda J, Hicken, Margaret Takako, McCluney, Courtney L. 2019. Policy Levers May Improve Older Workers' Perceptions of Their Psychosocial Work Environment: Research findings show that workplace policies can play a crucial role in the quality of older worker's health and job longevity. Generations 43(3):78-85.
- Hicken, Margaret Takako, Jackson, James Sidney, Kravitz-Wirtz, Nicole D., Durkee, Myles . 2018. Racial inequalities in health: Framing future research. Social Science & Medicine 199:11-18.
- Hicken, Margaret Takako, Brenner, Allison, Needham, Belinda L., Diez Roux, Ana V., Lê-Scherban, Félice , Seeman, Teresa , Sloan, Richard P, Wang, Xu . 2018. Child and Adult Socioeconomic Status and the Cortisol Response to Acute Stress: Evidence From the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Psychosomatic Medicine 80(2):184-192.
- Hicken, Margaret Takako, Lee, Hedwig , Hing, Anna K. 2018. The weight of racism: Vigilance and racial inequalities in weight-related measures. Social science & medicine 199:157-166.
- Courtney L. McCluney, Schmitz, Lauren Lucia, Hicken, Margaret Takako, Sonnega, Amanda J. 2018. Structural racism in the workplace: Does perception matter for health inequalities?. Social science & medicine 199:106-114.
- Hicken, Margaret Takako, Esposito, Michael H, Lee, Hedwig , Porter, Lauren C, Herting, Jerald R. 2017. The consequences of contact with the criminal justice system for health in the transition to adulthood. Longitudinal and Life Course Studies 8(1):57-74.
- Hicken, Margaret Takako. 2017. Measurement and modeling of race and health in Brazil: continuing the discussion. Cadernos de Saude Publica 33(suppl. 1):2-5.
- Hicken, Margaret Takako, Diez Roux, Ana V., Kershaw, K N, Robinson, W R, Gordon-Larsen, P , Goff, David C, Carnethon, Mercedes R, Kiefe, Catarina I, Sidney, Stephen . 2017. Association of changes in neighborhood-level racial residential segregation with changes in blood pressure among black adults: The cardia study. JAMA Internal Medicine 177(7):996-1002.
- Schmitz, Lauren Lucia, Hicken, Margaret Takako, Sonnega, Amanda J, McCluney, Courtney L. 2017. Structural racism in the workplace: Does perception matter for health inequalities?. Social Science & Medicine 199:106-114.
- Hicken, Margaret Takako, Mitchell, Colter, Needham, Belinda L., Govia, Ishtar O, Abdou, Cleopatra M. 2017. Maternal Social Disadvantage and Newborn Telomere Length in Archived Dried Blood Spots from the Michigan Neonatal Biobank. Biodemography and social biology 63(3):221-235.
- Hicken, Margaret Takako, Lee, Hedwig . 2016. Death by a Thousand Cuts: The Health Implications of Black Respectability Politics. Souls 18(2-4):421-445.
- Hicken, Margaret Takako, Diez Roux, Ana V., Adar, Sara D, Hajat, Anjum , Kershaw, Kiarri N, Do, D Phuong, Barr, R Graham, Kaufman, Joel D. 2016. Air Pollution, Cardiovascular Outcomes, and Social Disadvantage The Multi-ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Epidemiology 27(1):42-50.
- Hicken, Margaret Takako. 2015. Invited Commentary: Fundamental Causes, Social Context, and Modifiable Risk Factors in the Racial/Ethnic Inequalities in Blood Pressure and Hypertension. American Journal of Epidemiology 182(4):354-357.
- Hicken, Margaret Takako, Lee, Hedwig , McCormick, Tyler , Wildeman, Christopher . 2015. Racial Inequalities in Connectedness to Imprisoned Individuals in the United States. Du Bois Review-Social Science Research on Race 12(2):269-282.
- Hicken, Margaret Takako, Gipson, Debbie S. 2015. Matching the Genotype in Resolution: Innovative Ways of Phenotype Capture. Seminars in nephrology 35(3):279-290.
- Hicken, Margaret Takako, Morenoff, Jeffrey D, House, James S, Williams, David R., Lee, H . 2014. Racial/ethnic disparities in hypertension prevalence: reconsidering the role of chronic stress. American Journal of Public Health 104(1):117-123.
- Hicken, Margaret Takako, Dvonch, J Timothy, Schulz, Amy J, Mentz, Graciela , Max, Paul . 2014. Fine particulate matter air pollution and blood pressure: The modifying role of psychosocial stress. Environmental research 133:195-203.
- Hicken, Margaret Takako, Lee, H , Kershaw, K N, Abdou, C M, Williams, E S, Rivera-O'Reilly, N . 2013. Cardiovascular disease among Black Americans: comparisons between the U.S. Virgin Islands and the 50 U.S. states. Public health reports (Washington, D.C.: 1974) 128(3):170-178. PMCID: PMC3610069.
- Hicken, Margaret Takako, Lee, H . 2013. Cumulative social risk and racial/ethnic disparities in obesity during the transition to adulthood. Journal of health care for the poor and underserved 24(2):907-927.
- Hicken, Margaret Takako, Hunte, H E, King, K , Lee, H , Lewis, T T. 2013. Interpersonal discrimination and depressive symptomatology: examination of several personality-related characteristics as potential confounders in a racial/ethnic heterogeneous adult sample. BMC public health 13:1084-1093.
- Hicken, Margaret Takako, Rafferty, Jane, Lee, H , Mezuk, B , Kershaw, K N. 2013. Racial and ethnic differences in the association between obesity and depression in women. Journal of women's health (2002) 22(5):445-452.
- Hicken, Margaret Takako, Burgard, Sarah Andrea, Williams, David R., Lee, H , Ailshire, J . 2013. "Every shut eye, ain't sleep": The role of racism-related vigilance in racial/ethnic disparities in sleep difficulty. Race and social problems 5(2):100-112.
- Hicken, Margaret Takako, Morenoff, Jeffrey D, Snow, Rachel C., Gee, G C, Connell, C , Hu, H . 2013. Black-white blood pressure disparities: depressive symptoms and differential vulnerability to blood lead. Environmental health perspectives 121(2):205-209.
- Hicken, Margaret Takako, Diez Roux, Ana V., Adar, S D, O'Neill, M S, Magzamen, S , Auchincloss, A H, Kaufman, J D. 2013. Do psychosocial stress and social disadvantage modify the association between air pollution and blood pressure?: the multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis. American Journal of Epidemiology 178(10):1550-1562.
- Hicken, Margaret Takako, Morenoff, Jeffrey D, Snow, Rachel C., Gee, G C, Connell, C M, Hu, H . 2012. A novel look at racial health disparities: the interaction between social disadvantage and environmental health. American Journal of Public Health 102(12):2344-2351.
- Hicken, Margaret Takako, Gragg, R , Hu, H . 2011. How cumulative risks warrant a shift in our approach to racial health disparities: the case of lead, stress, and hypertension. Health affairs 30(10):1895-1901.
- Geronimus, Arline T, Hicken, Margaret Takako, Pearson, Jay, Seashols, S J, Brown, K L, Cruz, T D. 2010. Do US Black Women Experience Stress-Related Accelerated Biological Aging?: A Novel Theory and First Population-Based Test of Black-White Differences in Telomere Length. Human nature 21(1):19-38.
- Geronimus, Arline T, Bound, John, Hicken, Margaret Takako, Keene, D . 2007. Black-white differences in age trajectories of hypertension prevalence among adult women and men, 1999-2002. Ethnicity & disease 17(1):40-48.
- Geronimus, Arline T, Hicken, Margaret Takako, Bound, John, Keene, D . 2006. "Weathering" and age patterns of allostatic load scores among blacks and whites in the United States. American Journal of Public Health 96(5):826-833.
- Hicken, Margaret Takako, Farell, A , Meyer, R , Edmonds, L . 2003. Registry to Referral: A Promising Means for Identifying and Referring Infants and Toddlers for Early Intervention Services. Infants and young children 16(2):99-105.
- Hicken, Margaret Takako, Farel, A M, Meyer, R E, Edmonds, L D. 2003. Registry to referral: using birth defects registries to refer infants and toddlers for early intervention services. Birth defects research.Part A, Clinical and molecular teratology 67(9):647-650.