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:

  • 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.
  • White VanGompel, E.C., Main, E., Tancredi, D.J., Melnikow, J.A. Do provider birth attitudes influence cesarean delivery rate: A cross-sectional study. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth (in press).
  • White VanGompel, E.C., Franks, P., Robbins, J.A., and Fenton, J. Incidence and Predictors of Repeat Bone Mineral Densitometry: A Longitudinal Cohort Study. Journal of General Internal Medicine.2017.
  • Bello, J.K., Bauer, V., Plunkett, B.A., Poston, L., Solomonides, A., & Endres, L. Pregnancy weight gain, postpartum weight retention, and obesity. Current Cardiovascular Risk Reports. 2016; 10 (1).
  • Freedman, L. R., & Stulberg, D. B. The Research Consortium on Religious Healthcare Institutions: studying the impact of religious restrictions on women's reproductive health. Contraception. 2016.
  • White VanGompel, E.C., Jerant, Athony F., and Franks, Peter M. Primary Care Attributes Associated with Receipt of Preventive Care Services: A National Study. The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. 2015.
  • Bello, J. K., Rao, G., & Stulberg, D. B. Trends in contraceptive and preconception care in United States ambulatory practices. Family Medicine. 2015; 47(4).
  • Stulberg, D. B., Cain, L. R., Dahlquist, I., & Lauderdale, D. S. Ectopic pregnancy rates and racial disparities in the Medicaid population, 2004-2008. Fertility and Sterility. 2014;102 (6).
  • Stulberg, D. B., Hoffman, Y., Dahlquist, I. H., & Freedman, L. R. Tubal ligation in Catholic hospitals: a qualitative study of ob-gyns' experiences. Contraception. 90(4); 2014.
  • Bello, J.K., Adkins, K., Stulberg, D.B., Rao, G. Perceptions of a reproductive health self-assessment tool (RH-SAT) in an urban community health center. Patient Education and Counseling. 2013; 93(3).
  • Bello, K. J., Adkins, K., Stulberg, D., & Rao, G. What is the effect of a self-administered Reproductive Life Plan (RLP) on preconception and contraceptive counseling? Contraception. 2013;88 (3).
  • Stulberg, D. B., Cain, L. R., Dahlquist, I., & Lauderdale, D. S. Ectopic pregnancy rates in the Medicaid population. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2013; 208 (4).
  • Freedman, L. R., & Stulberg, D. B. (2013). Conflicts in care for obstetric complications in Catholic hospitals. AJOB Primary Research. 2013; 4(4).

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 (RHOADs Research Coordinator)

Ashley is the RHOADs Research Coordinator. She plays a lead role in managing research operations for the RHOADs research group taking on regulatory compliance, study coordination, grant development and management and serving as a resource for collaborators and research staff. She is passionate about access to reproductive healthcare, maternal/child health and gender equity in the workplace. Ashley is also the Research Coordinator 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 (RHOADs Research Assistant)

Hillary is a RHOADs Research Assistant. She assists with evaluation development, regulatory compliance, data collection and analyses, manuscript development and programmatic support. Hillary is currently working toward her Master’s in Public Policy with hopes of continuing her research in sexual health education and reproductive healthcare for LGBTQ+ people. 

Danielle Calloway (RHOADs Research Assistant)

Danielle is a RHOADs Research Assistant. She assists with data analyses, literature reviews and manuscript development. Danielle is currently a 4th year in the College majoring in Public Policy with a specialization in health and society and minoring in music. She is interested in women’s health in BIPOC communities, and after graduation, hopes to continue to work in women’s health policy and health equity in Illinois with a career in public policy and law.

Other members

  • Jana Wichelecki (PCPH Research Manager, Northshore Department of Family Medicine)
  • Francesca Carlock (PCPH Research Coordinator, Northshore Department of Family Medicine)
  • Meron Ferketa
  • Suzette Guzman
  • Chloe Hall
  • John Hawkins
  • Tatiana Josephy
  • Kayla Rasmussen
  • Kellie Schueler
  • Bonnie Song
  • Jocelyn Washer
  • Zarina Wong