Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Public Health


Sanggon Nam


Racial disparities in preterm birth have persisted during the past two decades. Though studies have delineated the medical, behavioral, and social risk factors explaining racial disparities in preterm birth, less is known about protective factors. This quantitative, correlational study was conducted to examine the prevalence, association, and risk of preconception health protective factors and sociodemographic covariates between Black/African American and non-Hispanic White women with preterm birth in New York City (NYC). The maternal and child health (MCH) life course approach was the theoretical foundation. The NYC Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System 2016–2018 Phase 8 survey data, which included 2,161 women ages 15–44, were analyzed. Preterm birth was the dependent variable, and the independent variables were preconception health protective factors (pregnancy intention, prepregnancy health care visit, prepregnancy control of medical conditions, prepregnancy birth control use to prevent pregnancy, and prepregnancy improve health before pregnancy) and sociodemographic covariates (maternal age, maternal years of education, income level, marital status, and health insurance status). Bivariate crosstab, correlation, and logistic regression were used to analyze the variables’ prevalence, association, and predictive values. Findings included significant associations between Black/African American and non-Hispanic White women with preterm birth and three preconception protective factors. Positive social change implications include changing preconception care, developing culturally responsive preconception interventions, and improving the education, training, and practice of MCH professionals.