I am an Associate Professor at Northeastern University, Bouvé College of Health Sciences, School of Nursing in Boston, Massachusetts.
I was working as a registered nurse in emergency rooms at the dawn of the epidemic-before treatment was available. Like many nurses of that time, I worked by day and helped care for friends with AIDS by night. The current work shown on this website is a commitment to the examples of courage I saw in those who succumbed to AIDS; to their lovers, friends, families, and communities, and to the nurses and physicians who cared for them.
Based on our conducting several studies among young urban women in sexual relationships with male partners, we came to understand that knowledge and intentions to reduce HIV risk were essential but not enough to change unprotected sex with high-risk partners. We understood the need to focus on the reasons women engage in unprotected sex in the context of their relationships.
The stories woven into the HIV prevention intervention video series called Love, Sex, Choices, are based on women’s realities and are written from the framework of Dr. Elizabeth Barrett’s Theory of Power as Knowing Participation in Change (more on this in our website) and Sex Script Theory (Simon & Gagnon). The videos resonate with women’s trials and tribulations in relationships with men. They also show women as they grow and change and their wisdom emerges. Women are shown realistically and with the respect they deserve. Our goal is to share the wisdom of women with women who are not yet in touch with their own wisdom and power as women.
Much of this work has been funded by grants from the National Institute of Nursing Research at the National Institutes of Health and by the National Library of Medicine (to create a risk algorithm for mobile devices). We are in the process of analyzing data from our current clinical trial that studied the effect of the 12-episode Love, Sex, & Choices. Our team consists of graduate students, undergraduate students, a biostatistician, and information systems professionals.
This clinical trial succeeded in recruiting close to 5,000 women via Facebook advertising for screening, over 2,000 of whom were at-risk and are residing in high HIV prevalence communities. This work has resulted in multiple publications on streaming video on smartphones as a public health intervention and Facebook advertising to recruit for clinical trials.
I currently serve as an Advisory Committee Member of the NIH Office of Research in Women’s Health. I’m a frequent reviewer on HIV/AIDS related study sections at NIH. My research has involved extensive collaboration with Northeastern Information Technology and IT security.
This work is dedicated to promoting health in the community and an end to HIV/AIDS in the U.S. and globally. Please enjoy Love, Sex, & Choices and share it with others. Let us know what you think.
Together we will defeat HIV/AIDS.