Rebecca Shlafer, PHD, MPH

Phone: 612-625-9907

Center of Excellence:

JIWC-specific areas of expertise: prenatal education, birth support, doula support for justice-involved women and girls, lactation among women in prison, parent-child contact and connectedness

Student opportunities available? Yes

Funding details: Has grant funding for JIWC projects. Recently finished an R03 from NICHD to study the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of doula support for pregnant women in prison.

What makes you passionate about this work?

“My work with JIWC began as an undergraduate research assistant at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I was tasked with taking focus group notes during sessions with grandparents who were raising their grandchildren. Most of the grandparents were raising their grandchildren because of challenges with their own adult children, many of whom were in and out of the criminal justice system. In the years that followed, I had numerous opportunities to work on research projects at the intersections of incarceration, children’s health, and family well-being. This continues to be a passion of mine and my program of research is focused on these issues.”

What community-engaged JIWC work are you currently doing?

“I am the research director for the Minnesota Prison Doula Project. I have numerous other community partners with local jails and organizations connected to this work.”

What research-practice collaborations are you the most excited to work on?

“I am very excited about the possibility of bringing together researchers and practitioners who are currently providing enhanced pregnancy related to care to women in prison. I currently lead a national network of people doing this work and am eager to continue doing this work in the years to come.”