Tahlia Bragg

Post DocTahlia Bragg

What is your area of research or expertise that you bring to the landscape collaboration?

The positionality of racial disparities related to Black self-identifying communities and risk for Alzheimer’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease-related dementias (AD/ADRDs)

What do you find challenging or exciting about interdisciplinary collaboration?

The challenge is finding a consistent time for all collaborators to meet, haha. The most exciting component of interdisciplinary collaboration is incorporating various approaches to answering questions to improve outcomes and results. It might sound cliché but I think that diversity in approaches is key to such collaborations.

 What’s one common misconception about sleep epidemiology that you’d like to dispel?

That researchers who emphasize Black racial disparities in AD/ADRDs only focus on race. It’s quite the contrary. Essentially, we are examining the consequences of race, which often have more global implications for other marginalized groups.

Do you have people who, when you tell them what you study, they say, can I tell you about my sleep problem? 

  1. I became interested in Clinical Neuropsychology during my undergraduate training. For my Senior Honors Capstone project, I looked at test discrepancies in a neuropsychological test among Black and Hispanic/Latine young adults. During my literature review on the topic, I discovered parallel research in mental health disparities among Black self-identifying youth, noting elevated misdiagnosis and overpathologizing of mental disorders in youth. At the time, I believed that the differences between Black and Hispanic/Latine self-identified communities and Non-Hispanic White self-identified communities on testing and misdiagnosis were somehow related and had broader systemic or structural implications.

How did you become interested in structural racism and health?

Before I knew the term structural racism, I started thinking about these concepts. I grew up in Detroit, and I went to high school in the suburbs, and so there were stark differences in the environment in which I lived and the environment in which I went to school. In high school I was very interested in racism as a topic. I went to a predominantly white high school, and so race was a common topic. This was around the time that affirmative action was really coming into play with University of Michigan admissions. So there were lots of discussions around that.  And then, as I started to learn more, particularly in college. I started thinking more about structural reasons and learning more about historical reasons why health is shaped the way it is. This interest has evolved over time, becoming this firm concept when I was in grad school, when I actually learned about the terminology and started doing more reading about different policies and how racism really manifests across all these different systems to produce the neighborhoods in which we live, our policies, and so on. My interest was more refined, and a class that I took in grad school that was taught by Arline Geronimus. This class really emphasized historical relevance and how that shapes health inequities.

What’s the academic path that brought you to where you are now?

Seeking and insisting that social justice and multiculturalism were at the core of all of my academic and professional pursuits.

If you had the opportunity to get one question answered by an omniscient being, what would you ask?

I would ask Malcolm X what he believed was the solution to eradicating health disparities and poorer health outcomes as a result of structural racism in this country. In his lifetime, he discussed what was needed at the time. My curiosity is if his opinions would change today.

Is there anything else you want to share?

I’m excited to be a part of the Landscapes Lab and looking forward to future collaborations!