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Professor Rachel Hardeman, a University of Minnesota health researcher specializing in medical racial inequality, was named Wednesday to the Time100 list of influential people for 2024.

In an interview after the list was revealed, Hardeman said her goal is to help make the world a better place by identifying and fighting structural racism in the medical field for people like her 10-year-old daughter.

"If our research can continue to have an impact outside of the halls of academia and influence policy … We're all going to be better off," Hardeman said.

Hardeman is included in the Time100 list's "Innovators" section alongside the likes of comedian Maya Rudolph and United Auto Workers union President Shawn Fain.

She's not the only member of the list from Minnesota. It also includes Land O'Lakes CEO Beth Ford.

U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, a Democrat from Illinois, wrote about Hardeman for Time, saying the professor's research has been key in congressional efforts to address the nation's high rates of maternal death.

"Hardeman always asks tough questions, confronts uncomfortable realities with grace and through her unwavering determination offers all of us a path forward toward truly advancing birth equity," Underwood wrote.

Hardeman is the founding director of the U's Center for Antiracism Research for Health Equity and also has been involved in maternal mortality and reproductive equity issues. She serves on maternal mortality review groups in Minnesota and for the CDC. She's on the board of directors for Planned Parenthood of the North Central States and partners with the Black-owned freestanding birth center, Roots Community Birth Center, in north Minneapolis.

At the U, she investigates ways to measure structural racism in medical research while also teaching classes in the School of Public Health. She was named the Blue Cross Endowed Professor of Health and Racial Inequality in 2020.

"I will never stop working on reproductive health. It is my life's work," Hardeman said.

Jack O'Connor is a University of Minnesota student reporter on assignment for the Star Tribune.