Reproductive Health Outcomes and Disparities (RHOADs) Research



The RHOADs research group generates new knowledge to improve reproductive health care and outcomes, and reduce racial and socioeconomic disparities. We are a collaboration between the University of Chicago and Northshore Departments of Family Medicine, and the Northshore Research Institute. We also work closely with the Primary Care & Population Health Investigators Group (PCPH) research lab at Northshore University Healthsystem and researchers in Obstetrics & Gynecology and Public Health Sciences. Our goals are the following:

  1. Build a sustainable research collaboration across the University of Chicago and Northshore based on passions for improving maternal and child health outcomes;
  2. Leverage the assets of the two institutions to study and implement interventions that will improve the quality of reproductive health care - including preconception, prenatal, intrapartum, postpartum, inter-conception, and family planning care - locally and beyond.

You may also like:


  • JK Bello, J Salas, R Grucza. Preconception health service provision among women with and without substance use disorders. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 2022. Jan;230:109194.
  • A Caldwell, P Schumm, M Murugesan, D Stulberg. Short-Interval Pregnancy in the Illinois Medicaid Population Following Delivery in Catholic vs non-Catholic Hospitals. Contraception. 2022 Mar 2:S0010-7824(22)00057-9. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2022.02.009.Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35247365. 
  • AM Dude, K Schueler, LP Schumm, M Murugesan, DB Stulberg. Preconception care and severe maternal morbidity in the United States. Am J Obstet Gynecol MFM. 2022 Mar;4(2):100549. doi: 10.1016/j.ajogmf.2021.100549. Epub 2021 Dec 4. PMID: 34871778; PMCID: PMC8891086.
  • M Ferketa, K Schueler, B Song, F Carlock, DB Stulberg, E White VanGompel (2022) Facilitators of and barriers to successful implementation of the One Key Question pregnancy intention screening tool, Women’s Health Report 3:1, 326–334, DOI: 10.1089/whr.2021.0100.Ma
  • L Hasselbacher, E Wingo , A Cacioppo, A McHugh, D Stulberg, L Freedman. Beyond Hobby Lobby: Employer's responsibilities and opportunities to improve network access to reproductive healthcare for employees, Contraception: X, Vol 4, 2022, 100078, ISSN 2590-1516,


  • L Hasselbacher, C Zuniga, A Bommaraju, TA Thompson, DB Stulberg. Lessons learned: Illinois providers' perspectives on implementation of Medicaid coverage for abortion. Contraception. 2021
  • KN Rasmussen, E Janiak, AA Cottrill, DB Stulberg. Expanding access to medication abortion through pharmacy dispensing of Mifepristone: Primary care perspectives from Illinois. Contraception. 20201. 
  • KE Schueler, LE Hebert, EE Wingo, LR Freedman, DB Stulberg. Denial of tubal ligation in religious hospitals: Consumer attitudes when insurance limits hospital choice. Contraception. 2021.
  • D Calloway, DB Stulberg, E Janiak. Mifepristone restrictions and primary care: Breaking the cycle of stigma through a learning collaborative model in the United States. Contraception. 2021
  • M Lassar, K Tao, T Bond, SSS Qadir, DB Stulberg. Closing the contraceptive coverage gap: A multipronged approach to advancing reproductive equity in Illinois. Contraception. 2021.
  • LE Herbert, EE Wingo, L Hasselbacher, KE Schueler, LR Freedman, DB Stulberg. Reproductive healthcare denials among a privately insured population. Prev Med Rep. 2021.


    • JK Bello, J Chavez, V Liederbauer, L Poston, R Stones, DB Stulberg. Perceptions of a Spanish language reproductive health self-assessment tool among Spanish-speaking women at a federally qualified health center, Minor Health. 2020
    • DB Stulberg, A Datta, E White VanGopel, K Schueler, CH Rocca. One Key Question and the desire to avoid pregnancy scale: A comparison of two approaches to asking about pregnancy preferences. Contraception. 2020.
    • LA Hasselbacher, LE Herbert, Y Liu, DB Stulberg. "My hands are tied": Abortion restrictions and providers' experiences in religious and nonreligious health care systems. Perspect Sex Reprod Health. 2020. 
    • JM Wascher, DB Stulberg, LR Freedman. Restrictions on reproductive care at Catholic hospitals: A qualitative study of patient experiences and perspectives. AJOB Empir Bioeth. 2020. 
    • LE Herbert, L Freedman, DB Stulberg. Choosing a hospital for obstetric, gynecologic, or reproductive healthcare: What matters most to patients? American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology MFM. 2020.
    • KE Schueler, DB Stulberg. How should we judge whether and when mission statements are ethically deployed? AMA J Ethics, 2020. 
    • B Song, E White VanGompel, C Wang, S Guzman, F Carlock, K Schueler, DB Stulberg. Effects of clinic-level implementation of One Key Question on reproductive health counseling and patient satisfaction. Contraception. 2020.


      • DB Stulberg, IH Dahlquist, J Disterhoft, JB Kottenstette, M Stranger Hunter. Increase in contraceptive counseling by primary care clinicians after implementation of One Key Question® at an urban community health center. Maternal and Child Health Journal. 2019
      • L Hebert, L Freedman, DB Stulberg. Choosing a hospital for obstetric, gynecologic, or reproductive healthcare: what matters most to patients? American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology MFM. 2019
      • R Gieseker, S Garcia-Ricketts, L Hasselbacher, DB Stulberg. Family planning service provision in Illinois religious hospitals: Racial/ethnic variation in access to non-religious hospitals for publicly insured women. Contraception. 2019.
      • DB Stulberg, M Guiahi, LE Hebert, LR Freedman. Women’s expectation of receiving reproductive health care at Catholic and Non-Catholic hospitals. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health.2019.
      • LE Hebert, L Freedman, DB Stulberg. Choosing a hospital for obstetric, gynecologic or reproductive health care: what matters most to patients? American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2019.
      • J Chor, DB Stulberg, S Tillman. Shared Decision-Making Framework for Pelvic Examinations in Asymptomatic, Nonpregnant Patients. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2019.


        • LR Freedman, LE Hebert, MF Battistelli, DB Stulberg. Religious hospital policies on reproductive care: what do patients want to know. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.2018.
        • JM Wascher, LE Hebert, LR Freedman, DB Stulberg. Do women know whether their hospital is Catholic? Results from a national survey. Contraception. 2018
        • JK Bello, DB Stulberg, Y Zhou, C Wang. Physical Activity and Consumption Patterns of Reproductive-Aged Women by BMI Category. Maternal and Child Health Journal. 2018.
        • DB Stulberg, K Monast, IH Dahlquist, K Palmer. Provision of abortion and other reproductive health services among former Midwest Access Project Trainees. Contraception, 2018
        • M Piotrowski, DB Stulberg, M Egan. Medical student interest in flexible residency training options. Family Medicine. 2018.

Our Team

Dr. Debra Stulberg (RHOADs Director, Chair, Department of Family Medicine)

Dr. Stulberg is the Director of RHOADs. Her research explores racial and socioeconomic disparities in reproductive health in the United States. She has a special interest in understanding the effect of religiously-sponsored health care in reproductive health, medical decision-making, and the doctor-patient relationship. Dr. Stulberg is also Associate Professor and Chair in the Department of Family Medicine, The University of Chicago with secondary appointments at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Section of Family Planning & Contraceptive Research, and the Maclean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics.


Dr. Emily White Van Gompel (RHOADs Associate Director)

Dr. White VanGompel is an Associate Director of RHOADs. Her research career is devoted to improving maternal and child health by better understanding how to deliver safe, high quality, patient- and family-centered maternity and newborn care, decrease overuse of potentially harmful or costly practices, and improve mother-baby dyad care.  She has a special interest in understanding the role of labor and delivery unit culture and its effects on maternal health outcomes. Dr. White Van Gompel is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Departments of Family Medicine and Obstetrics and Gynecology, The University of Chicago. She is also Program Director in the NorthShore Outcomes Research Network where she directs the residency research track for University of Chicago Family Medicine residents.


Dr. Jennifer Bello Kottenstette (RHOADs Investigator)

Dr. Bello Kottenstette is a RHOADs Investigator. Her research focuses on understanding the reproductive decision-making of justice-involved women and men with substance use disorders. She is currently studying justice-involved men's perspectives on how their substance using behaviors influence the behaviors of their female partners before and during pregnancy. She has an interest in delivering preconception health services in settings where justice-involved women and men present for care including in jails and substance use disorder treatment programs. Dr. Bello Kottenstette is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Family and Community Medicine and Associate Director of the Health Criminology Research Consortium, Saint Louis University.

Lee Hasselbacher, JD (RHOADs Investigator)

Lee is a RHOADs Investigator. Her policy-related research covers topics such as access to contraception and abortion, health care reform, religious refusals in health care, and consent and confidentiality for young people. Lee specializes in qualitative research to uncover the practical impact of laws and policies on equitable access to reproductive health care. Lee is a senior policy researcher at The Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Innovation in Sexual and Reproductive Health (Ci3) at The University of Chicago. Lee leads Ci3’s reproductive health policy research, collecting data and translating research to inform policy debates and legislation. She collaborates with health providers, advocates, and UChicago researchers to achieve evidence-based policy reform.

Ashley McHugh, MBA (RHOADs Research Manager)

Ashley is the RHOADs Research Manager. She manages research operations including study management and regulatory compliance, grants and contracts over the life cycle, and serves as a resource for collaborators and research staff. Ashley has a Master’s in Business Administration with a background in Psychology. She is passionate about access to reproductive healthcare, maternal and child health, and gender equity in the workplace. Ashley is also the Research Manager for the Department of Family Medicine, The University of Chicago.

Hannah Shireman Photo

Hannah Shireman, MA (RHOADs Research Analyst & ExPAND Mifepristone Coordinator)

Hannah is a RHOADs Research Analyst. She supports all aspects of study implementation including regulatory compliance, data collection and analyses, and manuscript preparation. She also leads program coordination for ExPAND Mifepristone. Hannah is a Master of Human Rights with a background in legal advocacy. She is particularly interested in understanding and addressing inequities across systems and public policy. Hannah is also a Research Analyst for the Department of Family Medicine, The University of Chicago.

Angel Boulware (RHOADs Research Assistant)

Angel is a RHOADs Research Assistant. She assists with study recruitment, data collection and analyses, and manuscript development. Angel is currently a PhD student in the Department of Comparative Human Development studying adolescent development. Her prior research explored family planning access in Rwanda.

Hillary Wolff, MPP (RHOADs Research Assistant)

Hillary is a RHOADs Research Assistant. She assists part-time with evaluation development, regulatory compliance, data collection and analyses, manuscript development, and programmatic support. She recently completed her Master’s in Public Policy at the University of Chicago and works as a data scientist. 

image of Valeria Hernandez

Valeria Hernandez (RHOADs Research Assistant)

Valeria is a RHOADs Research Assistant. She assists with all aspects of study activities including regulatory compliance, data collection and analyses, manuscript preparation, and programmatic support. Valeria has a B.S. in Psychology and her past research involved topics such as optimism-pessimism, coping, sex, sexuality, and relationships. She hopes to continue studying societal inequities and has a special interest in developing her skills in data science. Valeria is also a Research Assistant for the Department of Family Medicine, The University of Chicago.

Other members

  • Claire Rittenhouse (PCPH Research Coordinator, Northshore Department of Family Medicine)
  • Meron Ferketa
  • John Hawkins
  • Tatiana Josephy
  • Kayla Rasmussen
  • Kellie Schueler
  • Bonnie Song
  • Jocelyn Washer
  • Zarina Wong