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Deb Karasek

Photo of Deb Karasek
Assistant Professor Epidemiology
Office VPT 623R Phone: 503-494-8257


Deb is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology. She graduated from University of California, Berkley with her MPH and PhD in Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Karasek joins from University of California, San Francisco, where she was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences following her postdoctoral training with the California Preterm Initiative. This academic year, she is teaching Epi 536: Epidemiologic Data Analysis & Interpretation and Epi 566: Current Issues in Public Health.

Her research in epidemiology applies a health equity lens to explore how social and economic policies and interventions impact the health and wellbeing of pregnant people and their families. Her work explores how structural contexts shape health over the lifespan and how to target policy solutions to improve birth equity. She uses community-based participatory research methods and leverages multi-level data to inform interventions to reduce inequities. While at UCSF she served as a Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) K12 scholar, a Society for Hellman Fellow, and a Population Health and Health Equity Scholar.

She serves as the Director of Analysis for the Abundant Birth Project (ABP) Evaluation, a novel pregnancy guaranteed income pilot program, in collaboration with the implementing organization, Expecting Justice and researchers at UC Berkeley and UC Davis. Funded in part by the March of Dimes, the California Preterm Birth Initiative, and the California Collaborative for Pandemic Recovery (CPR3), the ABP pilot and California expansion evaluations will assess the impact of a guaranteed income program in pregnancy on perinatal health, economic insecurity, and mental health. She also leads work on the impacts of COVID-19 related social and economic policies on perinatal health, with a focus on racial and socioeconomic inequities. She is the former Co-PI and current Co-I for the University of California Community Research Hub, funded by the UC Office of the President, to design and test a training curriculum for students, faculty and community members to co-create meaningful community-led research. She also serves as a Co-I for the EMBRACE Study, a PCORI funded comparative effectiveness trial of group prenatal care compared to individual prenatal care among low-income pregnant people in the California Central Valley.

In her spare time, Deb enjoys exploring Oregon with two kids and large dog and adding to her heavy bowl collection as an amateur potter.


Education, Degrees

Ph.D., Epidemiology, University of California, Berkeley, 2017
M.P.H., Epidemiology/Biostatistics, University of California, Berkeley, 2008
B.A., Human Biology, Stanford University, 2003

¹ CEPH Primary Instructional Faculty
² CEPH Non-Primary Instructional Faculty

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