Dr. Jolaade Kalinowski is a behavioral cardiovascular researcher. Her research pertains to the role of chronic stress in cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk reduction in Black women. She is particularly interested in the unique role that stress plays in elderly Black women’s cardiovascular health, and how stressors may contribute to health disparities. She is interested in: (1) advance understanding of the complex interactions between psychosocial, behavioral and community-level factors contributing to CVD disparities in Black women; and (2) developing, testing and implementing innovative, scalable interventions to mitigate the adverse health effects of stress in Black women.
Jolaade had a somewhat circuitous route to research, but has always been committed to social justice issues. She is a 1st generation American, raised outside of Washington, DC, with immigrant parents from West Africa. Her father’s cancer diagnosis, her family’s subsequent economic hardship and stress, and the loss of her father as a child impacted her greatly, ultimately becoming a driving force for her interests in social justice. She observed how psychosocial factors and stressors have important health consequences that can also exacerbate health disparities and social justice issues.
Jolaade pursued the interdisciplinary major at American University in Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics, and Government. Following college, she obtained a Master’s in International Affairs from Georgetown University, discovering public health research and realizing that she could pursue a research career that would allow her to study the very issues that led to her interest in social justice. Jolaade pursued further education at Columbia University, Teachers College to study health and behavior. As a doctoral student she conducted research in stress and chronic pain among women prescribed opioids, which ultimately served as the topic for her dissertation. While conducting research, she became more aware of the disparities in chronic diseases as well as in women’s chronic disease management. As a student, she also worked at the New York City Department of Health (NYCDOH), one of the largest health municipalities in the world, helping to evaluate behavioral health interventions and programs under the umbrella of health promotion and disease prevention.
As a postdoctoral fellow at the New York University School of Medicine, Jolaade received extensive training in behavioral health and cardiovascular epidemiology. She recognized the CVD disparities facing Black women and felt compelled to explore this area further. As a Black woman herself, she felt a personal connection to this disparity, and chose to center her research around this particular population. She is currently working on a pilot study entitled, “Stress Management for Black Women with High Blood Pressure: Evaluating Effects of Mindfulness Training on CVD Risk,” to examine the feasibility and acceptability of a telephone-based mindfulness intervention and app-delivered mindfulness training (AMT) program in Black women with elevated blood pressure. When the opportunity to join HDFS presented itself, Jolaade was confident that HDFS would be an excellent place to pursue research and teaching. She enjoys the interdisciplinary nature of HDFS and sees many opportunities for learning and collaboration.
In her spare time, Jolaade loves activism, travelling, cooking, home décor and do-it-yourself (DIY) home projects.