Crime & Justice Policy

Berg Awarded CDC Grant

photo of an EKG line with a hand drawing the line

Dr. Mark Berg, director of the PPC’s Crime and Justice Policy Research Program and associate professor in the UI Department of Sociology, was awarded grant funding for a two-year project entitled, “Childhood Stressors and Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Adulthood: A Longitudinal Investigation of Divergent Explanatory Models.” This project is one of four interdisciplinary research projects as part of a recent $4.2 million grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC awarded the five-year grant to the University of Iowa to continue the Injury Prevention Research Center (IPRC) in the College of Public Health (read about the grant here). 

Along with co-investigators Ronald Simons (distinguished research professor, University of Georgia, Department of Sociology) and Man-Kit Lei (assistant professor, University of Georgia, Department of Sociology), Berg will study the effects of childhood adversity on dimensions of cardiovascular health. They will use 20 years of longitudinal data to examine the pathways through which childhood stressors contribute to cardiovascular disease (CVD). Among its study aims, the project seeks to

  1. test competing predictions regarding the pathways through which stressors across the life-course affect cardiovascular disease risk. 
  2. investigate the association between incarceration and cardiovascular disease risk, and whether childhood stressors amplify this association. 

 “Cardiovascular disease is among the leading causes of death and disability worldwide,” Berg notes, “and African-Americans are particularly at risk. Compared to whites, they suffer a greater burden of CVD, an earlier onset of CVD, and are more likely to die prematurely from cardiovascular disease. This is why it is crucial that we advance the research on the extent to which socio-environmental stressors, particularly those in childhood, give rise to CVD risk. This information might help us understand the class gradients in poor health that are not attributable to lifestyle conditions.”

You can follow updates on this project here.