top of page
Digital Journal Photo Collage in Grey Black Sticker Pop Style (4).png


Dr. Hill-Jarrett's program of research examines how psychosocial stressors and structural barriers impact the cognitive aging of older Black Americans and contribute to disparities in cognitive functioning and dementia.  A common thread of Dr. Hill-Jarrett's work within academic and clinical spaces has been to highlight how race is a proxy for unmeasured factors and life experiences (e.g., racism, gendered racism) that disproportionately disadvantage Black Americans and serve as a pathway through which disparities in cognitive aging and dementia emerge. One’s racial and ethnic background influences access to power, privilege, and economic resources – factors that are pertinent to the


maintenance of cognitive health across the lifespan. She seeks to improve the measurement and tracking of these adverse social exposures to better understand how they shape cognitive aging trajectories and association to incident Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD). She also seeks to design community based programs that counter these adverse encounters and allow Black Americans to age well. 

Her research is focused on three areas:


​Research Focus 1: Social and structural determinants of Black women's cognitive aging and risk of dementia

Research Focus 2: Measuring structural racism and sexism


Research Focus 3: Application of Afrofuturism as a method and praxis for creating equitable futures​The rationale for this work and Dr. Hill-Jarrett's approach is detailed further below.


Social and structural determinants of Black women's cognitive aging and risk of dementia

Black Americans are 1.5 - 2 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) than their non-Latinx, white counterparts. Women are about two times as likely to develop ADRD. Black women reflect a group at acute and disproportionate risk, but the mechanisms underlying these disparities remain poorly understood. Dr. Hill-Jarrett's work in this area focuses on how Black women experience distinct forms of marginalization and inequity that may compound and contribute to these disparities. Currently, she is working on project that examines Black women's experiences of gendered racism as well as protective factors. You can read more about this work here.


Measuring structural racism
and sexism

Structural racism is considered a primary driver of disparities in ADRD. To remediate the harms of structural racism, it is essential to understand how racism intersects with other systems of oppression, like structural sexism, to impact the cognitive aging of those with multiple marginalized identities (e.g., being both Black and a woman). Black women are exposed to distinct manifestations of structural racism and sexism, different from those encountered by either Black men or white women. Additionally, cognitive aging is strongly impacted by the social environment across the lifecourse and may be accelerated by early life exposures to racism and sexism for Black women, but measurement and methodological limitations have impacted the ability to directly test this link. 

Dr. Hill-Jarrett is part of the Marvin Grey Matter Family who is working at the forefront of measuring structural racism using innovative methods.

Untitled design (3).png


Application of Afrofuturism as a method and praxis for creating equitable futures

Afrofuturism is an epistemology, artform, and spatiotemporal consciousness that explores the African diaspora experience through alternate realities and futures using imagination, technology, and science fiction. Existing in the liminal space of possibility, Afrofuturism is a critical method and praxis that resonates with the Black community, facilitates knowledge co-production, and advances society towards equity and Black liberation.

Dr. Hill-Jarrett uses Afrofuturism as an approach to creative aging and designed a workshop series for older Black women. She is currently working on a project that explores Black women's visions for a reimagined healthcare system using Afrofuturism and digital storytelling

Learn more about Dr. Hill-Jarrett's research 

Visit Dr. Hill-Jarrett's university profile for more detailed information on publications and her research.

bottom of page