Kirsten is a doctoral student in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Department in the College of Public Health at Temple University. She received her MPH from the University of California at Los Angeles with certifications in health education and health promotion as well as population and reproductive health. She also completed her undergraduate studies in global health and environment (BA) and medical sociology (BA) with honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Her research areas have included the effect of implicit bias on care received and effective contraceptive use in an OBGYN clinic serving disadvantaged women in western North Carolina, the relationship between the quality of mother-daughter communication and approval of sexual initiation in adolescence and unintended pregnancy in adulthood, contraceptive use patterns among female entertainment workers in Cambodia, and the psychosocial factors that impact whether Asian immigrant women living in Los Angeles disclose their experiences of intimate partner violence. More broadly, Kirsten is interested in understanding how privilege and disadvantage (especially with respect to race/ethnicity, gender identity and sexuality), intersecting experiences, environments and social identities affect health belief and perceptions, behaviors, and consequently sexual and reproductive health outcomes and status. In addition, she wants to study the social conditions that specifically foster sexual risk-taking behaviors within underserved and hidden communities that can be seen through contraceptive use, abortion, sexually transmitted diseases, and pregnancy and how these behaviors may relate to other factors such as knowledge, resources, social networks, economic pressure, social status, stigma and culture.
She is committed to advocating for equity and social justice for these populations while engaging directly with communities and individuals to further support the human right to reproductive and sexual health.