Sarah B. Garrett, PhD, is a medical and cultural sociologist. She works to promote health equity via stakeholder-informed mixed-methods research, focusing in particular on maternal health. She is core faculty at the Phillip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies (IHPS) at UCSF.
Sarah is currently PI of a UCSF CTSI KL2 project, "Maternal health interventions in California hospitals: Understanding approaches & implementation to advance equity" (2022-2025). The overall objective of the proposed research is to elucidate how different health systems approach mitigating disparities in maternal health; to develop a survey to capture organizational influences on these mitigation efforts; and to develop a community-informed and community-accountable systems-change agenda for the next generation of equity interventions. A birth equity stakeholder advisory board (BIPOC community members, clinicians, scholars) will guide and advise the project.
From 2020-2022, Sarah was a T32 Health Policy Fellow at IHPS. Among other activities, she designed and led the MEND study: Multi-Stakeholder Engagement with State Policies to Advance Antiracism in Maternal Health. The multiple-methods project engages Black women and birthing people, socio-legal scholars, perinatal clinicians, and a fully-funded community advisory panel of Black mothers to develop evidence-based guidance for clinician implicit bias training.
Prior to being a Fellow, Sarah worked as research staff in the Division of Geriatrics and at IHPS. In Geriatrics she helped to design, conduct and analyze mixed-methods research on the experiences and needs of individuals with dementia and their caregivers; on older adults' experience managing chronic pain; and on how hospice staff navigate patients' and families' preferences for aggressive care. At IHPS Sarah is a part of the Medical Cultures Lab, a social science “laboratory” that is focused on several related initiatives examining the role of culture in medicine. There she works to improve methods of analyzing, presenting, and sharing qualitative data in order to make these data more useful in patient-centered research. Sarah has also contributed research and project direction to an NIH-funded study on cancer patients' understanding of and decision-making about participation in early phase clinical trials; a PCORI-funded methodological project to improve the conduct and communication of qualitative research; and a CTSI-funded study on the ways in which lay Californians perceive the risks and benefits of human tissue biobanking.
For her NSF-funded doctoral research at UC Berkeley, Sarah conducted a longitudinal study on the ways in which a diverse group of pregnant women in the San Francisco Bay Area perceived prenatal care and birth care options; the origins of those perceptions; and how the perceptions affected their decision-making and postpartum mental health. She collected and analyzed original quantitative (n = 325) and qualitative (n = 67) data for the study. Results have been published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at national conferences.