Margaret T. Hicken

Faculty Associate, PSC
Research Assistant Professor, SRC-Social Envir & Health
Research Assistant Professor, Int Med-Nephrology
LEO Intermittent Lecturer, Epidemiology Department
Margaret T. Hicken


Dr. Hicken studies racial inequalities in health, complex systems, gene-environment interactions, stress and environmental toxicants in health. She received her doctorate in public health in May 2010 from the University of Michigan. Through her dissertation, she investigated the interactive role of social and environmental factors in black-white hypertension disparities. Using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), she found that black but not white Americans exhibit a positive association between blood lead and blood pressure, and that this disparity in the effect of lead is not due to higher levels of blood lead in black Americans. Rather, she found that psychosocial factors and social disadvantage explain the stronger effect. Since then her work has explored the role of social disadvantage and psychosocial stress in heightened susceptibility to the harmful health effects of air pollution. She also has conducted empirical exploration into novel approaches to stress measurement in population surveys.