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.

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  • Shireman H, McHugh A, Connelly R, Srinivasulu S, Sumberg A, Moy A, Stulberg D, Janiak E. Demand for abortion training and technical assistance in primary care: Unmet need and programmatic interventions. Contraception. 2024 May 31:110487. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2024.110487. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 38825547.


  • L Wu, K Nutting, L Harriett, A McHugh, E Janiak, DB Stulberg. ExPAND Mifepristone: Medical management of miscarriage and abortion in FQHCs. Ann Fam Med 2023, 21. DOI: 10.1370/afm.3006. 
  • M Sakthivel, H Wolff, K Monast, A McHugh, D Stulberg, E Janiak. Mifepristone implementation in primary care: Clinician and staff insights from a pilot learning collaborative. Contraception 2023, 110280. DOI: 10.1016/j.contraception.2023.110280. 
  • K Ängeby, E White VanGompel, K Johansson, M Edqvist. Labor unit culture and attitudes toward supporting vaginal birth—The Swedish version of the labor culture survey (S-LCS)—Psychometric properties. Birth 2023, 00:1-13. DOI: 10.1111/birt.12777. 
  • H Wolff, A McHugh, S Qadir, M Lassar, K Tao, D Stulberg. Reproductive care in community health centers: Multi-method evaluation of the Illinois Contraceptive Access Now (ICAN!) demonstration program. Contraception 2023, 110305. DOI: 10.1016/j.contraception.2023.110305. 
  • A Liu, V Hernandez, A Dude, LP Schumm, M Murugesan, A McHugh, D Stulberg. Racial and ethnic disparities in short interval pregnancy following delivery in Catholic vs non-Catholic hospitals among California Medicaid enrollees. Contraception 2023, 110308. DOI: 10.1016/j.contraception.2023.110308. 


  • 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.

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 reproductive 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 VanGompel is a Visiting Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Illinois Chicago. Lab website:


Dr. Jennifer Bello Kottenstette (RHOADs Investigator)

Dr. Bello Kottenstette is a RHOADs Investigator. Her research focuses on understanding and addressing the reproductive health needs of women and men with substance use disorders who have criminal legal involvement. She is currently conducting feasibility testing of an adaptation of a pre-pregnancy behavioral intervention that uses motivational interviewing to help women who are incarcerated lower their chance of experiencing a future substance-exposed pregnancy. Dr. Bello Kottenstette is an Associate Professor at the Department of Family and Community Medicine, board-certified in Addiction Medicine, and core faculty in the Addiction Medicine Fellowship at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. 

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 Senior Research Analyst)

Hannah is a RHOADs Senior Research Analyst. She supports all aspects of study implementation including regulatory compliance, data collection and analyses, and manuscript preparation. 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.

Artria Johnson

Artria Johnson (RHOADs Research Coordinator & ExPAND Mifepristone Program Coordinator)

Artria is a RHOADs Research Coordinator. She assists with all aspects of study activities including study coordination, regulatory compliance, data collection, and manuscript preparation. She also is the Program Coordinator for ExPAND Mifepristone's Learning Collaborative. Artria has a B.A. in Human Development & Learning and is currently working on a MBA in Healthcare Management. Her past work involves coordinating research on the impact of oral health on overall health, aiding in the treatment and compliance for HIV positive patients, and educating elementary school children. She hopes to continue focusing on families and women's reproductive healthcare.

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 (Research Associate, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Department of Family and Community Medicine)
  • Meron Ferketa
  • John Hawkins
  • Tatiana Josephy
  • Kayla Rasmussen
  • Kellie Schueler
  • Bonnie Song
  • Jocelyn Washer
  • Zarina Wong