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Emma Sartin

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Emma Sartin has a Ph.D. in development psychology and a master’s in health behavior. But that is not necessarily the kind of expertise her friends with kids consult her about. Instead, it’s car seats: Which to install? How? “I do enjoy helping out that way,” said Sartin, a certified child passenger safety technician. 

Sartin received that training as part of the research she’s conducting at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. It’s emblematic of her multidisciplinary approach to her work on the striking racial disparities in child traffic fatalities.

A first-generation college graduate, Sartin wouldn’t have expected to become a researcher, let alone in transportation. But working with a mentor who studied teen car accidents in grad school, she was struck by the finding that Black children die in transportation accidents at up to twice the rate of white children.

Understanding the factors behind the disparities is complicated, but that is Sartin’s motivation. “I love research. If it’s a research question that’s important and I think is going to help people, then I think it’s worth doing,” said Sartin.

— Annalisa Merelli