Behavioral health scientist, journalist, post-doc, epidemiologist, and health communication fellow. If I’m not reading or writing you can usually find me running or cooking. I’m a women’s and adolescent health specialist, with a specific focus on the relationship between high-risk behaviors, global rights and access to healthcare, and communications and social marketing in the areas of health and social justice. I have a number of years of experience working in adolescent and women’s health, in HIV and reproductive health, sexual behavior and education, access to care, and the impact of abuse, trauma and victimization on health and socioeconomic status. Fundamentally, though, I remain the gender studies student I became as a youngster, constantly looking through the lens of socialization and identification – for both men and women – and how these socialized identities play into our mental, physical, and emotional health. This underscores my interest in the intersection of gender, social identity, public health and health behaviors.
Born and raised in San Francisco, I remain a steadfast Californian – I love everything about this state and that there is so much to explore about it, though I am equally in love with my adopted home of New York City. I attended the University of Southern California, where I was one of two people (both women) who graduated with a degree in Gender Studies – out of a class of thousands. To say I found that to be emblematic of a bigger cultural problem would be an understatement. I graduated from Columbia with my doctorate in Health and Behavior with a program focus on public health education and a specialization in women’s and adolescent health. This is also where I completed my master’s degree in sexual and reproductive health education. I was previously a Communicating Health and Epidemiology Fellow (CHEF) in the Epidemiology department at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia, where my research and work focused on the best ways to translate epidemiological research, public health and socioeconomic research into effective communication for advocacy, policy, and education purposes. Formerly the manager of the global health education and training programs at the Center for Innovation in Global Health at Stanford, I also worked as a freelance United Nations and global health correspondent for MediaGlobal, a non-profit news agency dedicated to the developing world. I covered health, social and cultural issues in the global south that are being addressed within the UN and its bodies, departments and partners. I now manage the Center for AIDS Research, a National Institutes of Health center at UCSF and the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology, which supports both domestic and international translational, interdisciplinary and epidemiological HIV reearch. A lifelong activist, I currently work with Spark and Planned Parenthood of NYC, as well as for organizations abroad like The Komera Project, in volunteer and pro-bono roles in communications, fundraising and evaluation.
Because of my work and academic experience, I find myself being drawn back to the bigger picture of the social determinants of risk behaviors, how we treat and take care of ourselves, what makes us abandon what we intellectually know to be the choices that would keep us safest, healthiest, strongest; how we are conditioned – and then how we can help one another despite of that. Media critic, health and education advocate, human rights and social justice communicator, public health aficionado, feminist, prevention champion, and all around opinionator, this blog serves as the platform for discussing how these topics all relate. My writing has appeared in Sociological Images, Jezebel, MediaGlobal, About-Face, Feministing Community Blog, The 2×2 Project, and various blogs. I also work as a ghost writer for columnists and contributors of web and print magazines on topics of healthcare financing, policy, and behavior change.
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