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Dr. Rachel R Hardeman


"Black people are loved. We were made out of love. We show over and over again that love is the most powerful force on this planet. We are the embodiment of the power of love to preserve and to flourish. We have used love to heal and to find strength when we thought there was none. It is the love from and of our ancestors that will continue to nurture us in our time of need. And this love of ourselves and our community will hold us as we stand strong in the face of today's challenges and tomorrow's triumphs." 


Dr. Hardeman, a reproductive health equity researcher, applies the tools of population health science and health services research to elucidate a critical and complex determinant of health inequity—Anti-Black Racism. Dr. Hardeman leverages the frameworks of critical race theory and Reproductive Justice to inform her equity-centered work, aiming to build the empirical evidence of racism’s impact on health. 

Dr. Hardeman built her career working with Black birthing people and their babies, including a long-term and impactful partnership with Roots Community Birth Center in North Minneapolis, which is one of only five Black-owned freestanding birth centers in the United States. Her work also examines the potential health impacts for Black birthing people when living in a community that has experienced the killing of an unarmed Black person by police. Dr. Hardeman’s firmly believes that to dismantle structural racism we must make the invisible visible. To this end, she and colleagues seek to operationalize measures of structural racism for inclusion in the MeasuringRacism Data Portal®

Published in prestigious journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, the American Journal of Public Health, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and Health Affairs, Dr. Hardeman’s research and thought leadership has elicited critical conversations and policy impact on structural racism as a fundamental cause of health inequities. Her overarching goal is to contribute to a body of knowledge that links anti-Black racism to health in a tangible way, identifies opportunities for intervention, and dismantles the systems, structures, and institutions that allow inequities to persist.

Dr. Hardeman is the recipient of many local and national awards for her research, community contributions and thought leadership. Most recently,

she was awarded the University of Minnesota Community Engaged Scholar Award, the IRTH Crown Award for Excellence in Reproductive Health Research and the STAT News STATUS List 2023.


Rachel is also active in her local and national communities contributing expertise to organizations and efforts that seek to achieve health equity such as the Minnesota Maternal Mortality Review Committee (MMRC) and the Board of Directors for Planned Parenthood of the North Central States. Dr. Hardeman also serves on the Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) where she advises the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Director of the CDC, on policy and broad strategies that will enable the CDC to fulfill its mission of protecting health through health promotion, prevention, and preparedness.

Dr. Hardeman internationally and nationally renowned work and expertise has been highlighted in a myriad of outlets such as New York Times Visionary and STAT News. Her research has informed knowledge and policy across the globe from the Washington Post to the New York Times to National Public Radio. Dr. Hardeman has also appeared in media outlets such as CBS News, and Tracee Ellis Ross’s Podcast I Am America.

Dr. Hardeman earned an undergraduate degree in chemistry and Spanish from Xavier University of Louisiana, an MPH in Public Health Administration and Policy and a PhD in Health Services Research and Policy from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. In her spare time, she enjoys playing tennis with her twin sister, being a dance mom and traveling with her family. When not engaged in these hobbies, Dr. Hardeman fulfills her purpose as a member of the Breck Board of Trustees and as a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated.

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