Directory Calendar Careers Alumni Giving

Dara D Mendez, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor, Epidemiology


5130 Parran Hall, 130 DeSoto Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15261
R-znvy: qqz66@cvgg.rqh
Primary Phone: 967-193-0119
Web site:

Ellen Mooney, ryz664@cvgg.rqh, 967-179-6808

Personal Statement

My research program explores the role of social context in determining outcomes related to pregnancy, birth, and women's health. I specifically apply frameworks and approaches focused on the social determinants of health equity (and health disparities). I employ novel methods to measure and understand neighborhood environments, various forms of racism (including institutional and structural racism), and social stress.


2002 | Spelman College, Atlanta, GA| B.A.

2005 | University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC | M.P.H. (Maternal and Child Health)

2005 | University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC | Interdisciplinary Certificate in Health Disparities

2009 | University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC | Ph.D. (Maternal and Child Health, minor in Epidemiology; specialization in Perinatal Epidemiology)


Social Epidemiology

Women's Health Epidemiology; Research Seminar in Reproductive/Perinatal/Pediatric Epidemiology

Overview of Health Equity; Research Methods in Health Equity


2013-2017      NIH, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute

Real Time Data Collection with Adaptive Sampling and Innovative Technologies (5R01HL107370), Diversity Supplement

Role: PI of Diversity Supplement to R01 (PI: LE Burke), Co-I

2015                Academy Health/Aetna Foundation Scholars in Residence Fellowship
Role: PI

2014-2015      University Center for Social and Urban Research, University of Pittsburgh

Steven Manners Faculty Development Award.

The development of a measure of neighborhood wellbeing for Pittsburgh neighborhoods

Role: PI (Co-PI: Fabio)

2012-2015      The Aetna Foundation

Neighborhood environment and racial disparities in maternal obesity, infant mortality, and preterm birth

Role: PI

Service Activities

  • Board of Directors, National Women’s Health Network (Immediate past Chair)

  • Member, Infant Mortality Strategic Planning Committee, Allegheny County Health Department

  • Editorial Board, Women’s Reproductive Health Journal
  • Editorial Board, Maternal and Child Health Journal

  • Reviewer, International Journal of Health Geographics

  • Reviewer, American Journal of Public Health

  • Reviewer, Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities

  • Community Research Advisory Board, University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Health Equity

  • Volunteer, Community Connections, Ellis School

  • Volunteer, Investing NOW

  • Member, Kellogg Foundation Birth Outcomes Think Tank

Professional Interests

Maternal and Child Health (Pregnancy and Birth Outcomes)

Women’s Health

Health Equity

Epidemiology (Social and Perinatal)

Program Assessment and Evaluation

Geospatial Methods

Community-Partnered and Driven Research Approaches



Selected Publications

Selected Publications 

Mendez DD, Kim KH, Hardaway C, Fabio A. Neighborhood racial and socioeconomic disparities in the food and alcohol environment: Are there differences by commercial data sources? Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities. 2016; 3(1): 108-116.

Mendez DD, Duell J, Reiser S, Martin D, Gradeck R, Fabio A. A methodology for combining multiple commercial data sources to improve measurement of the food and alcohol environment: applications of geographical information systems. Geospatial Health. 2014; 9(1): 71-96.

Mendez DD, Burke J, Jones J, Salter C. Perspectives from community-based doulas and mothers: Neighborhood
context and pregnancy. Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice. 2014; 7(4): 91-106.

Mendez DD, Hogan VK, Culhane JF.  Institutional racism, neighborhood factors, stress, and preterm birth. Ethnicity
and Health. 2014;19(5):479-99. Epub Oct 18 2013. 

Mendez DD, Doebler DA, Kim K, Amutah NN, Fabio A, Bodnar LM. Neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage and gestational weight gain and loss. Maternal
and Child Health Journal. 2014 Jul;18(5):1095-103. Epub Sept 12 2013. 

Mendez DD, Hogan VK, Culhane JF. Stress and Pregnancy: The Role of Institutional Racism. Stress and Health Journal 2013 Oct; 29(4):266-74 [Oct 10 2012 Epub ahead of print]. 

Mendez DD, Hogan VK, Culhane JF.  Institutional Racism and Health: Using Home Mortgage Disclosure Act Data to Develop a New Index for Mortgage Discrimination on the Community Level. Public Health Reports. Sept-Oct 2011; Suppl. 3, 126: 102-14.

Dara D Mendez
© 2017 by University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

Login  |  Sitemap