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CHRS | Affiliate Faculty

Name: Nicole Angotti
Department/School: Sociology/CAS
Health-related expertise: I am a sociologist with interests in two key areas for health: The differential incorporation of global health norms, policies and programs in local contexts, and the social dimensions of HIV/AIDS in highly endemic rural African communities. I also have secondary interests in how our understanding of health and health-related behaviors are influenced by the process of data collection.
Geographic focus: Sub-Saharan Africa
Methodological expertise: Primary data collection; mixed methods approaches; qualitative methods, especially ethnography and interviews
Current health-related projects: 

  • Love Crimes: The Criminalization of Same Sex Sexualities Across Contexts
  • HIV after 40 in Rural South Africa: Aging in the Context of an AIDS Epidemic
  • Public Conversations about HIV/AIDS in Rural South Africa<
Link to faculty page:


Name: Michael Bader
Department/School: Sociology/CAS
Health-related expertise: I study how neighborhoods have changed since the passage of Civil Rights legislation in the 1960s. I investigate how residents and businesses choose to locate in particular neighborhoods and how these choices lead to racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic inequalities in Americans’ well-being. I examine how changes in neighborhoods affect health outcomes across the life course, including how the built environment influences adolescent obesity and how changing neighborhood conditions affect health among older Americans. In the process of conducting this research, I have developed innovative methods to collect and analyze data on neighborhoods like using Google Street View to characterize physical conditions on streets across the country.
Geographic focus: Metropolitan areas in the United States, especially Chicago, New York, and Washington, D.C.
Methodological expertise: Quantitative methods (hierarchical linear modeling, spatial statistics, growth curve analysis), survey research, geographic information systems (GIS)
Current health-related projects: 

  • Computer Assisted Neighborhood Visual Assessment System (CANVAS)
  • DC Area Study (DCAS)
  • Aging in America’s Changing Places

Link to faculty page:

Name: Kim M. Blankenship 
Department/School: Sociology CAS
Health-related expertise: Broadly speaking, I am interested in social inequality (with a focus on race, class, gender and global inequality) and health, and in structural interventions to address these inequalities. Most of my research has examined these issues through the lens of HIV/AIDS. I have done work conceptualizing structural interventions as a public health intervention strategy, with a particular focus on community led structural interventions/community mobilization interventions. I’ve analyzed the implementation and impact of community mobilization interventions for addressing HIV vulnerability among female sex workers. I am also interested in how the criminalization of certain behaviors (such as sex work) create HIV related risk/vulnerability and how the disruption created by the movement between prison/jail and the community produces race, class and gender-based inequalities in health, with a focus on HIV. As Director of the Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) Core of the DC Center for AIDS Research, I am also interested in supporting the development of innovative, community engaged social and behavioral research on HIV/AIDS in DC and beyond.
Geographic focus: India and urban US
Methodological expertise: Ethnography, mixed methods research, survey research, community engaged research 
Current health-related projects: 

  • SHARRPP—Structures, Health And Risk among Re-entrants, Probationers and Partners (5R01DA025021 05, Blankenship PI)
  • Project Parivartan (OPP30183, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Blankenship PI)
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences Core, DC Center for AIDS Research (1P30AI11797 01, PI Alan Greenberg, SBS Core Director, Blankenship)

Link to faculty page:

Name: Ernesto Castañeda
Department/School: Sociology/CAS
Health-related expertise: Health disparities among Hispanics; Immigrant mental health; Homelessness, addictions, and health outcomes; Risky behavior among vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations
Geographic focus: United States cities; United States/Mexico border; global cities; Western Europe; North Africa
Methodological expertise: Ethnography, quantitative, qualitative, mixed-methods
Current health-related projects: 

  • Social Determinants of Physical and Mental Health of Migrant and Transient Populations: Health Disparities amongst Hispanics in El Paso, TX Part of grant number 1 P20 MD002287-04, Hispanic Health Disparities Research Center (PI, E Provencio-Vasquez)
  • Health Disparities among Homeless Populations Point in Time Census
  • Health among Hispanic Public Housing Residents
  • Migration and Mental Health: Economic and Political Migrants from Mexico and Central America

Link to faculty page:

Name: Lauren Carruth
Department/School: SIS
Health-related expertise: Global health; Humanitarian assistance, especially among displaced populations; Nutrition and food security; Emerging zoonotic diseases; Pastoralism and sedentarization; Clinical medical anthropology. 
Geographic focus: Horn of Africa; Tucson, Arizona
Methodological expertise: Ethnography, mixed methods
Link to faculty page:

Name: Maria De Jesus
Department/School: SIS
Health-related expertise: Dr. De Jesus’ research program focuses on health and healthcare disparities, which is a critical area of focus in interstate and transnational relations. She also examines the role of culture-centered health communication as a mechanism to eliminate global and domestic health disparities. 
Geographic focus: United States- immigrant, refugee, and diaspora communities; Central America; Africa
Methodological expertise: Qualitative, mixed methods
Current health-related projects: 

  • HIV-Related Perceptions, Barriers and Facilitators to HIV Testing, and HIV-Related Communication Norms Among East African Immigrant and African American Women in Washington, DC
  • Impact of Social & Economic Conditions on Health, Healthcare Access, & Migration among Mexicans & Central Americans in Urban Contexts
  • The Role of Mobile Health (m-Health) Technology in Breast Cancer Prevention Among Hispanic Women
  • DC Area Survey Pilot Study of Latino Immigrant and Global Neighborhoods (Michael Bader, PI)

Link to faculty page:

Name: Daniel E. Esser
Department/School: SIS
Health-related expertise: Broadly trained in Development Studies, I focus my health-related research on inter-organizational politics in the context of global health governance, and on communal violence. In the first area, I seek to understand why certain organizations in the field of global health make more impactful decisions, run programs more efficiently, and mobilize public resources more effectively than others. In the second area, I study how communities affected by violence react. Articles already published examine global health spending patterns, the political economy of global health assistance, foreign donor accountability in the context of HIV programming, differences in the perception of violences in a post-war urban space, and the limits of international support in response to global aging.
Geographic focus: Central and South America; West Africa; South Asia
Methodological expertise: Primary data collection (interviews, surveys), computer-aided analysis (NVivo, STATA)
Current health-related projects

  • Explaining Aid Agency Performance: DFID’s Leadership in Development Assistance for Health
  • Faith, Poverty, and Victimization: Catalysts of Citizens’ Collective Action Amid Violence in Ciudad Juárez, 2008-2012

Link to faculty page:

Name: Jolynn Gardner
Department/School: Health Studies (Public Health Program)/CAS
Geographic focus: None
Health-related expertise: My academic and research interests include undergraduate public health education; issues associated with stress, change and loss, particularly among young adults; drug abuse education and prevention; and healthy nutrition / lifestyle initiatives.
Current health-related projects

  • Undergraduate Public Health Education Curriculum Accreditation -AU
  • ReInventing the Student Experience Task Force – AU
  • Student Stress Working Group -AU

Link to faculty page:

Name: Sonya A. Grier
Department/School: Marketing/Kogod
Health-related expertise: Marketing and consumer response; Influence of marketing on health
Geographic focus: United States; Cuba; South Africa
Methodological expertise: Experimental, qualitative
Current health-related projects:

  • Social Marketing in Cuba
  • Social marketing and health disparities
  • Fast food and adolescent health

Link to faculty page:

Name: Mary Eschelbach Hansen
Department/School: Economics/CAS
Health-related expertise: My main area of health-related research examines and evaluates the U.S. federal and state policies intended to help child victims of abuse and neglect.  
Geographic focus: United States
Methodological expertise: Economic evaluation, quantitative analysis
Current health-related projects:

  • The Well-being of Children Adopted from Foster Care
  • Racial Disparities in Services Provided after Adoption from Foster Care

Link to faculty page:

Name: Derek Hyra
Department/School: Department of Public Administration and Policy/School of Public Affairs
Health-related expertise: My research centers on understanding and improving the community context that influences people’s life course trajectories. I am particularly interested in understanding ways to advance the circumstances of those who reside in impoverished urban neighborhood environments.
Geographic focus: Cities: Washington, DC, New York, and Chicago
Methodological expertise: Qualitative methods, ethnography
Current health-related projects

Link to faculty page:
Metropolitan Policy Center:

Name: Rita Jalali
Department/School: Sociology/CAS
Health-related expertise: Primary focus on water, sanitation, & hygiene issues. More specifically: the gendered nature of WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) related diseases, i.e. how gender relations affect exposure and vulnerability to risk, access to health care and treatment, and health outcomes in low income countries; Impact of menstrual management practices on women’s health and hygiene; Community-based hygiene promotion interventions; Personal hygiene practices of women in resource poor communities; WASH priorities in the global development agenda.   
Geographic focus: India; Other low-income countries
Methodological expertise: Mixed methods
Current health-related projects

  • The Challenges of Maintaining Hygiene: The Social and Health Effects of Water and Sanitation Deprivation among Poor Women in India
  • The Effect of WASH Insecurities on Women’s Health: A Conceptual Framework
  • Explaining the Neglect of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Issues in Development

Link to faculty page:

Name: Alan M. Kraut
Department/School: History/CAS
Health-related expertise: I study the history of medicine and public health in the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries with special emphasis on immigration and ethnicity.
Geographic focus: United States
Methodological expertise: Traditional historical methodology, biography
Current health-related projects:  

  • Foreign Bodies: Health, Appearance and Assimilation in American History

Link to faculty page:

Name: Robin Lumsdaine
Department/School: Finance & Real Estate/Kogod
Health-related expertise: A large part of my research is on the economics of aging, particularly factors affecting retirement decisions and retirement income adequacy. I work with large longitudinal health and aging datasets and am interested in how people’s perceptions of their health affect their decisions.
Geographic focus: United States; Europe; China; UK
Methodological expertise: Econometrics, statistics
Current health-related projects: 

  • Cross-country Comparisons of the Role of Question Order and Framing in Responses to Self-Assessed Health Questions

Link to faculty page:

Name: Taryn Morrissey 
Department/School: Department of Public Administration and Policy, School of Public Affairs
Health-related expertise: Relationships between public policy and child health and development; Social determinants of child obesity and food insecurity, including family factors such as parental mental health and employment characteristics.
Geographic focus: United States
Methodological expertise: Quantitative analyses with longitudinal datasets using hierarchal growth models, random effects models, and fixed effects models.
Current health-related projects:

  • Using Natural Experiments to Identify SNAP’s Impacts on Child and Adult Health
  • Variations in Children’s Food Insecurity by Family and Neighborhood Poverty

Link to faculty page:

Name: Adrienne Pine
Department/School: Anthropology/CAS
Health-related expertise: I am a medical anthropologist with a focus on nursing, technological restructuring, and solidarity practices as they relate to health and healthcare. I have examined the health impacts of multiple intersecting forms of military, state, labor, and intimate violence, in particular in Honduras and the United States. I conduct solidarity ethnography with a wide range of groups advocating for patients and healthcare justice.
Geographic focus: Honduras; United States; Cuba
Methodological expertise: Ethnography
Current health-related projects:

    Nursing and Democracy in Post-Coup Honduras
  • Health Inequity and Care (a curricular collaboration with National Nurses United)
  • International Nurse Solidarity
  • Environmental Racism and Healthcare Justice on the Navajo Reservation

Link to faculty page:

Name: Rachel Sullivan Robinson
Department/School: SIS 
Health-related expertise: Dr. Robinson is a sociologist and demographer whose research focuses on sex-related health interventions in sub-Saharan Africa, including family planning, HIV/AIDS, and sexuality education. She is interested in how such interventions come into being, the actors that implement them (esp. NGOs), and how they influence one another and related political projects, including homophobia.
Geographic focus: Sub-Saharan Africa, especially Malawi, Nigeria, and Senegal
Methodological expertise: Mixed methods, event-history analysis, interviews, demographic methods
Current health-related projects: 

  • Intimate Interventions in Global Health: Preventing Pregnancy and HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Managing the Politics of Adolescent Sexuality Education in Nigeria and Mississippi
  • NGO Knowledge Collective
  • Love Crimes: Health Interventions, Anti-Western Sentiment, and Homophobia in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • The Impact of Local Nongovernmental Organizations on HIV Services and Contraceptive Prevalence in Sub-Saharan Africa

Link to faculty page:

Name: Cristel Antonia Russell
Department/School: Marketing/Kogod 
Health-related expertise: Cristel Russell studies the influence of television on youth attitudes, beliefs and behaviors, particularly related to substances (alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs). Her publications addressing how products embedded in the content of entertainment programs affect consumers’ attention, attitudes, and behaviors have been published in health and prevention-focused journals such as the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs and Addiction. She has received funding for her research on the nature and impact on youth of alcohol messages in television series through grants from the United States’ National Institute of Health and France’s Institut National du Cancer. 
Geographic focus: United States; Europe (France primarily)
Methodological expertise: Surveys and experiments
Current health-related projects: 

  • The Role of Television Viewing and Direct Experience in Predicting Adolescents’ Beliefs of Health Risks of Fast Food Consumption
  • Social Support and Mental Health Outcomes Among United States Army Special Forces
  • Alcohol Storylines in Television Episodes: The Preventive Effect of Corrective Epilogues.
  • Substance Messages In Music Video And Youth’s Substance-Related Views And Consumption: The Role Of Connectedness.
  • Eye Tracking Evidence that Happy Faces Impair Comprehension of the Verbal Message: The Case of Health Warnings in Direct-to-Consumer Pharmaceutical Television Commercials

Link to faculty page:

Name: Jeremy Shiffman
Department/School: Public Administration and Policy/SPA
Health-related expertise: Politics of health policy-making and administration in low-income countries; Global health governance; Agenda-setting in health
Geographic focus: Southeast Asia; South Asia; Africa; Latin America
Methodological expertise: Qualitative, comparative method, case studies, constructivist approaches
Current health-related projects:

  • Knowledge and power in global health
  • The emergence and effectiveness of global health networks
  • Managing the politics of scaling-up sexuality education in Nigeria

Link to faculty page:

Name: Cathy Lisa Schneider
Department/School: SIS
Health-related expertise: Unspecified
Geographic focus: United States; France; Chile
Methodological expertise: Ethnography
Current health-related projects: 

  • Perceived Powerlessness and Race Riots

Link to faculty page:

Name: Kirsten Stoebenau
Department/School: Sociology/CAS
Health-related expertise: Dr. Stoebenau is a social and behavioral scientist trained in social demography with an interest in the social and structural determinants and consequences of women’s sexual and reproductive health. Her work to date has focused on two main themes: 1. vulnerability to HIV for women who participate in sexual exchange relationships; and 2. the gendered determinants and consequences of fertility outcomes including adolescent fertility and fertility decline. 
Geographic focus: Sub-Saharan Africa
Methodological expertise: Ethnography, mixed-method research
Current health-related projects:

  • Conceptualizing and measuring transactional sex in sub-Saharan Africa 
  • Understanding the relationship context of adolescent fertility in Ghana

Link to faculty page:

Name: Erdal Tekin
Department/School: Public Administration and Policy /SPA
Health-related expertise: A primary focus of my research is the analysis of the consequences of risky behavioral and environmental factors on the outcomes of individuals on a range of domains including labor market, human capital, and health both in the short and long terms. I also have expertise on quantitative methodologies developed to account for confounding factors and identify causal effects.
Geographic focus: United States; Denmark; Turkey
Methodological expertise: Quasi-experimental methodologies
Current health-related projects:

  • The impact of fetal exposure to malnutrition on adult outcomes in the domains of labor market productivity, human capital development, health and crime.
  • The Value of Socialized Medicine: The Evidence from the Family Medicine Program in Turkey
  • The Impact of Natural Gas Networks on Mortality

Link to faculty page:

Name: Lindsay F. Wiley
Department/School: Washington College of Law
Health-related expertise: Professor Wiley is a nationally recognized expert in public health law whose work focuses on the use of law as a tool for ensuring access to health care and healthy living conditions.
Geographic focus: United States; Global
Methodological expertise: Legal scholarship
Current health-related projects: 

  • Public health paternalism
  • Integration of health care and public health systems
  • Regulation of workplace wellness programs

Link to faculty page:

Name: Thespina (Nina) Yamanis
Department/School: SIS
Health-related expertise: I am a behavioral scientist with a Ph.D. in public health. My interests are in understanding how social and structural factors affect risk for HIV and violence among vulnerable populations and in addressing these factors through community-based interventions. I work on these issues through two major projects: 1) understanding social network influence on HIV risk behavior and intimate partner violence during an intervention trial with young men in Tanzania; and 2) exploring how fear of deportation and access to legal immigration services affects HIV-related service use among Latino men who have sex with men and transgender women in Washington, DC.  
Geographic focus: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Washington, DC, United States
Methodological expertise: Mixed methods, social network analysis
Current health-related projects: 

  • A Multilevel Intervention to Reduce HIV Risk among Networks of Men in Tanzania (R01 MH098690-01) Role: Co-Investigator
  • A Pilot Legal Intervention to Increase HIV Service Use among Immigrant Latino MSM (NIH/NIAID/Emory University) Role: PI
  • The Ethics of Social Network Interventions to Reduce HIV Risk: An Exploratory Study among Networks of Young Men in Tanzania. (NIDA/Fordham University) Role: PI

Link to faculty page:

Name: Gay Young 
Department/School: Sociology/CAS
Health-related expertise: I have recently expanded my long-standing interest in gender and development to include attention to social/structural determinants of women’s health.  
Geographic focus: India; Palestine; Arab Middle East
Methodological expertise: Quantitative, qualitative
Current health-related projects: 

  • Structural influences on the capacity of women sex workers in India to practice condom use 
  • Collective Action to Address Health Challenges: The Case of HIV/AIDS

Link to faculty page:

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CHRS Executive Committee

The CHRS Executive Committee provides guidance to CHRS leadership on the intellectual development and administrative operations of the Center. The Committee is comprised currently of six AU faculty members serving on a volunteer basis, representing three Schools, and with diverse social science interests and expertise in the study of health locally, nationally, and globally. 

Executive Committee, 2016-2017

Kim Blankenship (Director, CHRS), Department of Sociology, College of Arts and Sciences 

Nicole Angotti (Assistant Director, CHRS), Department of Sociology, College of Arts and Sciences 

Mike Bader, Department of Sociology, College of Arts and Sciences 

Daniel Esser, School of International Service 

Rachel Robinson, School of International Service 

Jeremy Shiffman, Department of Public Administration and Policy, School of Public Affairs