Samantha Gailey

Samantha Gailey

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PhD, Social Ecology, University of California, Irvine, 2021
BA, Psychology, Gettysburg College, 2015

Samantha Gailey is an interdisciplinary scientist dedicated to advancing environmental health equity. Her research draws on epidemiology, psychology, and geography to identify place-based causes of health disparities, particularly among mothers and children. Much of Sam’s work focuses on understanding and addressing inequities in access to greenspace—including parks, street trees, and urban forests—that affect public health. Her research uses innovative and diverse methodological approaches, from community engagement and dynamic ambulatory assessments to “big data” analysis.

Sam holds joint appointments in Forestry and Public Health; she is among MSU’s inaugural class of 1855 Professors, a collaborative and multidisciplinary group of faculty members chosen to promote social and environmental justice on and off campus. In addition to understanding connections between greenspace and health, Sam’s broader research program explores how structural racism, residential segregation, and neighborhood context perpetuate inequality. The overarching goal of Sam’s work is to inform policies and interventions to create more equitable, sustainable, and healthier communities in Michigan and beyond.

Sam is recruiting graduate students to join her research group, the Growing Environmental Equity in Neighborhoods (GREEN) Lab, for Fall 2024. Please contact her if interested.

Research Interests

  • Greenspace and environmental justice
  • Maternal and child health disparities
  • Residential segregation, mobility, and neighborhood context
  • Causal inference, ambulatory assessments, and community-based methods

Selected Publications

Gailey, S. (2023). Changes in residential greenspace and birth outcomes among siblings: Differences by maternal raceInt. J.  Environ. Res. Public Health, 20, 6790.  

Gailey, S. (2022). Moving to greener pastures: Health selection into neighborhood greenspace among a highly mobile and diverse population in California. Social Science & Medicine, 315(115411). 

Das, A., & Gailey, S. (2022). Green exercise, mental health symptoms, and state lockdown policies: A longitudinal study. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 82(101848).   

Gailey, S., McElroy, S., Benmarhnia, T., & Bruckner, T.A. (2021). Green mobility and obesity: A longitudinal analysis of neighborhood greenness in California. Health & Place, 68, 102503. 

Gailey, S., Knudsen, E.S, Mortensen, L.H, & Bruckner, T.A. (2021). Birth outcomes following unexpected job loss: A matched sibling design. International Journal of Epidemiology, 51(3), 858–869. 

Gailey, S., Cross, R.I., Messer, L.C., & Bruckner, T.A. (2021). Characteristics associated with downward residential mobility among birthing persons in California. Social Science & Medicine, 279, 113962.

Gailey, S., & Bruckner, T. A. (2019). Obesity among Black women in food deserts: An “omnibus” test of differential risk. Social Science and Medicine: Population Health, 7, 100363.