Faculty Profile

Arline Geronimus

Arline T Geronimus, ScD

  • Professor, Health Behavior and Health Education

Dr. Geronimus originated an analytic framework, "weathering" that posits that the health of African Americans and other culturally oppressed or economically exploited populations is subject to early health deterioration as a consequence of social exclusion; much of her scholarly work is related to developing and testing this structurally-rooted biopsychosocial conceptual framework. Her general research interests include structural and cultural influences on population variation in family structure and age-at-first birth; the effects of impoverishment, structural racism, and disinvestment in residential areas on health; the collective strategies marginalized communities employ to mitigate, resist, or undo the harmful effects of poverty and structural racism on their health; the trade-offs these strategies reflect; and the perturbations public policies sometimes cause in these autonomous protections. Dr. Geronimus also examines the biological mediators of the weathering process from society to cells, in particular the structured social dynamics that activate physiological stress arousal in social identity groups in everyday settings.

  • Postdoctoral Training, Harvard Medical School, 1987
  • ScD, Harvard School of Public Health, 1985
  • AB, Princeton University, 1978

Research Interests:
Population health inequity, weathering, contingencies of social identity, Racism, racialization processes, maternal health, accelerated aging and chronic disease onset

Research Projects:
Life expectancy disparities between more and less socioeconomically advantaged groups have enlarged in the US since 1990, a disturbing trend that has yet to be understood or halted. Analyzing Multiple Cause of Death files from the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS), population data from the decennial Census, and American Community Survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau disaggregated by countries, commuting zones, and labor market areas Geronimus is evaluating empirically common competing hypotheses to explain what drives these trends to inform intervention and policy development aimed at reducing and eliminating socioeconomic inequities in life expectancy.

Geronimus is estimating the effect of persistent economic declines on changes in years of life lost (YLL) overall and by cause, by leveraging geographic variation in the impact of globalization and automation

Geronimus is estimating the contribution of the secular trend toward older maternal ages at first birth to US increasing maternal mortality rates of the last 30 years

Geronimus AT. WEATHERING: The Extraordinary Stress of Ordinary Life in an Unjust Society. Little Brown: Spark (US rights) and Virago (UK and Australia rights), to be published March 2023. https://www.amazon.com/Weathering-Extraordinary-Stress-Ordinary-Society/dp/0316257974/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2LKXZUZ19LS0Eandkeywords=weathering+geronimusandqid=1664489078andqu=eyJxc2MiOiIwLjk2IiwicXNhIjoiMC4wMCIsInFzcCI6IjAuMDAifQ%3D%3Dandsprefix=weathering+geronimus%2Caps%2C79andsr=8-1 

Geronimus AT. Weathering the Pandemic: Dying Old at a Young Age from Pre-existing Racist Conditions. Washington and Lee's Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice 2021; 27(2)409-440.

Geronimus AT, Pearson JA, Linnenbringer E, Eisenberg AK, Stokes C, Hughes LD, Schulz AJ. Weathering in Detroit: Place, Race, Ethnicity, and Poverty as Conceptually Fluctuating Social Constructs Shaping Variation in Allostatic Load. Milbank Q. 2020;98(4):1171-1218. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-0009.12484 

Geronimus AT, Bound J, Waidmann TA, Rodriguez J, Timpe, B. "Weathering, Drugs and Whack-a-mole: Fundamental and Proximate Causes of Widening Educational Inequity in U.S. Life Expectancy by Sex and Race, 1990-2015." Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 2019; 60(2): 222-239.

Novak N, Geronimus AT, Martinez-Cardoso A. Change in Birth Outcomes among Infants Born to Latina Mothers after a Major Immigration Raid. International Journal of Epidemiology 2017; doi: 10.1093/ije/dyw346.

Geronimus AT, James SA, Destin M, Graham LF, Hatzenbeuhler ML, Murphy MC, Pearson JA, Omari A, Thompson JP. Jedi Public Health: Co-creating an Identity-Safe Culture to Promote Health Equity. Social Science and Medicine-Population Health 2016; 2:105-116.

Email: arline@umich.edu 
Office: 734-936-0929
Address: Department of Health Behavior and Health Education
1415 Washington Heights
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2029

For media inquiries: sph.media@umich.edu