Gubrium and Salerno Valdez Receive Multi-Year Award to Examine Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Inequities in Massachusetts

SPHHS faculty Aline Gubrium and Elizabeth Salerno Valdez

Aline Gubrium (left) and Elizabeth Salerno Valdez

April 22, 2020

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s (DPH) Office of Sexual Health and Youth Development in the Bureau of Community Health and Prevention has awarded a renewable contract to Health Promotion and Policy faculty members Aline Gubrium and Elizabeth Salerno Valdez to examine adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH) inequities in Massachusetts.

The new funding, anticipated to be up to $900,000 over the course of four years, will enable researchers with the study, based at the UMass Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences, to complete a comprehensive investigation to examine how structural racism, in combination with other systems of oppression, contributes to inequitable ASRH outcomes for youth. The researchers will use participatory research methods in partnership with three diverse communities in Massachusetts: the Springfield Metropolitan Area, Southbridge, and Lynn.

Gubrium is an associate professor and the program head of the Community Health Education concentration in the Department of Health Promotion and Policy. As chair of the American Public Health Association's Sexual and Reproductive Health Section, she is an internationally renowned expert on the use of participatory, digital, visual, narrative and ethnographic methods to study the sexual and reproductive health knowledge and decision-making of marginalized women and youth. 

Salerno Valdez, a Postdoctoral Pathways Fellow and Lecturer in the Community Health Education program since 2019, relies on strong community partnerships to expand the reach, impact and sustainability of public health research programs focused on substance use prevention and treatment, reproductive health, and maternal and child health among immigrant communities. 

“We hope the findings from this research will inform current and future efforts by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, including the Successful Teens: Relationships, Identity and Values Education (STRIVE) Initiative, to improve outcomes and reduce inequities in sexual and reproductive health among adolescent youth,” the researchers note.