Student Spotlight – Joni Brown


Joni Brown is a third-year PhD student in Health Psychology. Her research interest is in psychosocial and sociocultural factors affecting the physical and mental health of Black women, especially concerning maternal and reproductive health. Joni first became interested in research during college when she took Research Methods in Psychology. For two years, she worked as an undergraduate research assistant for a lab dedicated to health disparities research, and developed a strong interest in health psychology and a desire to pursue a research career devoted to health in Black women.

Since coming to UCLA, Joni has worked on several research projects concerning Black women’s health under the guidance of her primary mentor, Professor Chris Dunkel Schetter, who is expert in women’s maternal and reproductive health. Joni is currently completing a qualitative research study that investigates gendered-racial socialization messages and their impact on reproductive health attitudes and behaviors in African American women. She will also be working on analyses in an existing dataset to test whether racial discrimination predicts postpartum depressive symptoms through emotional responses to racism in Black mothers, and test whether coping responses moderate this mediation model. 

Joni became a member of MCH SIG because of her strong interest in maternal and child health work, and to network with students and professionals with similar interests. After completing her graduate training, Joni hopes to continue her research career as a professor and to establish relationships with community organizations seeking to improve the health and well-being of Black women and their offspring.