Areas of Focus

Gender, Sexuality and Health

Faculty members involved in the have extensive expertise on issues related to gender, sexuality and health. Projects include Dr. Jennifer Hirsch’s work on love, marriage and HIV; Drs. Hirsch and Parker’s STAR Partnership Program for research and training on gender, sexuality and HIV in Vietnam; Dr. Patrick Wilson’s work on sexual risk and HIV prevention among minority MSM in the urban USA; Dr. Marni Sommer’s work on gender and sexual maturation among young people in Tanzania; and Dr. Parker’s long-term work on HIV prevention among MSM in Brazil. 

Center faculty members also collaborate extensively on the Department of Sociomedical Sciences’ doctoral training program in Gender, Sexuality and Health, led by Drs. Constance Nathanson, Peter Messeri, and Jennifer Hirsch.

Globalization and Global Public Health

Center faculty members have deep roots in this area. Professor Parker serves as Editor-in-Chief and Professor Marni Sommer is Executive Editor for the academic journal, Global Public Health. They recently edited the Handbook of Global Public Health (Routledge, 2011), and are working on a volume commissioned by Routledge, Structural Approaches in Public Health. The Center looks to collaborate with faculty within Sociomedical Sciences and other departments to examine global demographic trends and patterns that are poised to have a major impact on the global public health landscape.

Social Movements and Community Mobilization

Drs. Parker and Wilson, together with Dr. Jonathan Garcia, have conducted long-term studies on issues related to religion and religious responses to HIV and AIDS. With support from NICHD, they have examined Catholic, Evangelical Protestant, and Afro-Brazilian religious traditions and the HIV epidemic in Brazil, as well as the role of religion in shaping the community-based response to the epidemic among the African-American communities in New York City.

Together with Dr. Joyce Moon-Howard, they also received funding from NICHD for the organization of an international meeting on institutional and cultural responses to the epidemic among religious groups.

Culture and Context/Structure and Agency

Current projects include an examination of the political economy of HIV risk as an ‘externality’ in relation to migrant populations; gender, sexuality and risk in Brazil; and a review of the situational and contextual factors in relation to HIV risk. Other topics include structural factors that impact on the experience of menstruation in relation to girl’s education and health in sub-Saharan Africa; long-term effects of living with HIV for marginalized populations and communities in New York City; homelessness and mental illness in New York and other parts of the United States; and organ donation or transfer in the United States and internationally.

The Politics of Public Health

Work in this area provides valuable insight into the interplay of politics and public health in the United States and overseas. Dr. Parker’s long-term research on the social and political response to HIV and AIDS in Brazil encompasses this topic, as is his more recent work on the politics of harm reduction policies in the United States and globally.  Dr. Constance Nathanson work on the politics of public health in Canada, France, the UK, and the US reflects trends in industrialized countries. 

Related Links

The Center collaborates and communicates with a number of groups across the Mailman School and the larger University community. In many cases, Center faculty are affiliated or directly work with the entities listed below.

Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health
The HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies
Columbia Population Research Center (CPRC)
School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA)
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences – Department of Anthropology
Committee on Global Thought (CGT)