Hot Topics in Public Health — A Symposium Series

Understanding the Impacts of Wisconsin’s Birth Tax:
A Reproductive Justice Approach

Held Thursday, Feb. 8, 5:30-7 p.m.
On Zoom webinar

View recording

This event offered live captioning and American Sign Language interpretation.

  • Presenter: Tiffany Green, PhD, associate professor, Departments of Population Health Sciences and Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Moderator: Jessica Dalby, MD, associate professor, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health

Birth Cost Recovery, also known as the ‘Birth Tax’ is a Wisconsin policy which holds unmarried, non-custodial fathers liable for Medicaid/BadgerCare childbirth costs. Supporters of this policy assert that the Birth Tax promotes paternal responsibility. However, opponents maintain that the Birth Tax causes financial and relationship strain and deters pregnant people from accessing prenatal care — leading to the high rates of poor reproductive health outcomes, particularly among the Black families disproportionately affected by this policy.

Historically Dane and Milwaukee Counties were the top Birth Tax collectors in Wisconsin. However, as of 2024, Dane and Milwaukee Counties have discontinued this policy, providing an unprecedented opportunity to evaluate its impacts. In this presentation, Dr. Green will discuss what we know thus far about the impacts of the Birth Tax on outcomes, and its intersections with reproductive justice. The presentation will emphasize an ongoing community-engaged, mixed-methods project that centers the voices of low-income Black parents who likely experience this policy in complex and unique ways.

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In support of improving patient care, the University of Wisconsin–Madison ICEP is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.


Tiffany Green

Tiffany Green, PhD, is a nationally recognized economist, population health scientist, and science communicator whose mission is to reduce and eliminate racial/ethnic disparities in in reproductive health. She is currently an associate professor of Population Health Sciences and Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Dr. Green earned her PhD in economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a BA in economics from Florida A&M University. Her primary research agenda is motivated by a persistent unsolved puzzle: how and why Black people with the capacity for pregnancy experience the worst reproductive health access and outcomes of any racial/ethnic group—and what innovative solutions might ameliorate these persistent inequities. She is a member of the Wisconsin State Maternal Mortality Review Team and proudly served as inaugural Co-Chair of the Black Maternal & Child Health Alliance of Dane County (2020-2023) — a coalition committed to ensuring that Black birthing people and babies are free to reach their highest potential.

Jessica Dalby

Jess Dalby, DM, is an associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Wisconsin. Her current clinical practice is at the Wingra Family Medical Center, part of the Access Community Health Center network, where she has been caring for multigenerational families for the past 15 years. She earned her medical degree in 2008 from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas and completed a family medicine residency at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2011. In 2017, she became the medical consultant for sexual and reproductive health with the Milwaukee Health Department. Her other teaching and academic interests include reproductive health, through which she has developed curriculum, training programs and research projects on miscarriage management, HPV screening and subcutaneous depo for self-administration.

Past Symposia

Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023: Misinformation/Disinformation in Public Health

Thursday, March 30, 2023: Thirty Years of Tobacco Control Research and Intervention:
Looking Forward, Looking Back

Thursday, Oct. 27, 2023: Race, Racism and COVID-19 in Wisconsin

April 21, 2022: A Conversation on Disability Rights

Oct. 6, 2021: Hot Topics in Public Health: Immigrant Health: An Insider’s View

April 28, 2021: Hot Topics in Public Health: Climate Change as a Public Health Emergency

October 26, 2020: Hot Topics in Public Health: Prevention of Gun Violence as a Public Health Strategy

January 27, 2021: Hot Topics in Public Health: The Coronavirus Pandemic at One Year

January 29, 2020: Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Real Time

Questions about this event? Contact SMPH Signature Events at

Accessibility statement: 
The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health is committed to accessibility. If you need an accommodation to attend or participate in this event, please contact the SMPH signature events team at We ask that accommodation requests be made no less than two weeks before an event. We will make a thorough attempt to fulfill requests made after this date but cannot guarantee they will be met.