Dr. Pederson completed medical school and residency training in psychiatry at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. During residency she also received a certificate of scholarly concentration in global health.
Dr. Pederson has conducted research locally and globally on health disparities. Her research is centered on alleviating health disparities for underserved and vulnerable populations. Dr. Pederson has focused on the identification of mechanisms that result in barriers to engagement in mental and physical health services for underserved populations, including Black adults. She also conducts research on the development of health models that address medical mistrust and that promote early engagement in health services. She has worked with community-based organizations to improve public understanding of mental health, which has led to increased participation in health and wellness programs among underserved Black youth and adults.
She is a co-editor of the Landmark Papers in Psychiatry with the Oxford University Press (2020). Dr. Pederson has published peer-reviewed articles on barriers to engagement in health services. She has received funding from the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences as an inaugural recipient of the Clinical and Translational Science Award Diversity Supplement grant at Northwestern. Dr. Pederson also received funding from the NIH National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Third Coast Center for AIDS Research. The aims of these grants were to identify mechanisms and psychosocial factors that lead to low engagement in treatment and to delineate models to improve early engagement in health services for underserved Black communities.
Dr. Pederson has received awards from national societies such as the American Psychiatric Association Diversity Fellowship, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Minority Fellowship, and the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology Junior Investigator Research Colloquium award. Her innovations in the area of health disparities have led to invitations to lecture to the Health Disparities Research Section of the Laboratory of Epidemiology and Population Sciences at the National Institute on Aging, and by other national organizations. Her work has been featured in the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and on NPR.
Dr. Pederson provides new models for understanding how stigmatizing perspectives impact use of mainstream health services and how our health systems can engage more successfully with patients from underserved communities to reduce health inequities.