Assistant Professor, American Ethnic Studies
University of Washington
As an urban poverty ethnographer, Dr. Pittman’s research focuses primarily on social policy; carework; health disparities; aging; race, class, and gender; and more. Specifically, she examines the coping experiences of socially marginalized women, including Black women living with HIV/AIDS and low-income, urban Black grandmothers caring for their grandchildren. She is currently focusing on three distinct but interrelated aspects of grandparent caregiving: (1) Her forthcoming book, Coerced Mothering: Caregiving and African American Grandmothers examines the coercive forces that compel grandmothers to provide care under the harshest conditions and affiliated questions concerning individual coping responses, institutional and familial barriers and resources; (2) recent manuscripts investigate the structural lag between grandparent-headed households and safety net programs; and (3) a mixed methods project utilizing qualitative and biomarker methodologies examines the stress-mediated health impacts of low-income, African American grandmothers raising their grandchildren. This innovative design approach offers the potential for clarifying the sequence events from stressors to health markers, deepening understandings of the sources and mechanisms leading to health disparities, and for differentiating between person comparisons from within-person variations in response to stressors.