As an adolescent medicine physician, I specialize in primary care and consultative care for adolescents, specifically addressing common threats to this specific population’s health, including:
- Chronic physical illnesses
- Eating disorders
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
- Injuries and violence
- Mental health disorders
- Poor sexual and reproductive health
Social determinants of health link these conditions. I wanted the opportunity to play a role in reducing health disparities and improving the health and well-being of underserved adolescents and young adults.
My research interests focus on generating the data needed to maximize the public health impact of technologies to prevent human papillomavirus (HPV)-related cancers. I want to help decrease disability and deaths due to cervical cancer and other conditions caused by HPV. This includes reducing racial and ethnic disparities in these diseases.
My current research program investigates primary and secondary prevention of HPV-related diseases using technologies such as Pap tests, HPV DNA testing and HPV vaccines. Our studies have already helped to:
- Assess the acceptability and accuracy of HPV DNA self- and clinician-led testing in adolescents
- Evaluate the epidemiology and risk factors for HPV in adolescent patients
- Examine the impact of HPV vaccination on sexual attitudes and behaviors
- Gauge the epidemiological impact of HPV vaccine introduction in various communities
- Characterize the attitudes about HPV vaccination among adolescents, parents and clinicians
- Study the immunogenicity and safety of HPV vaccines in HIV-positive young people
My colleagues and I hope to maximize the uptake of primary prevention strategies, such as HPV vaccines, and compliance with secondary prevention strategies, like cervical cancer screening. Our work promotes positive health-related behaviors after Pap screening and HPV testing and vaccination. Ideally, my efforts will guide the design of next-generation HPV vaccines, vaccination guidelines and cervical cancer screening programs based on the trends in HPV epidemiology after vaccination.
I am honored to have received the Huffman-Capraro Young Investigator Award from the North American Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology. I also received the New Investigator Award from the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM).
I am currently the president of SAHM and have served on national and international committees and advisory groups focused on vaccines and other adolescent health issues. My roles have included:
- Membership of a leadership group for the U01-funded Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS interventions
- Primary investigator for a grant program that funded 10 United States projects designed to improve adolescent vaccination
- Facilitator of a global HPV vaccine community of practice funded by the World Health Organization (WHO)
The National Institutes of Health, WHO and foundations such as the American Cancer Society have provided grants for my research. To date, I have published more than 175 articles and am a contributing author for several medical textbooks.
In addition to my clinical and research work, I am a professor of pediatrics in the Division of Adolescent and Transition Medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center within the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. I serve as the director of the Office of Academic Affairs and Career Development, as well as the program director for the Cincinnati Center for Clinical and Translational Science and Training (CCTST) KL2 program at Cincinnati Children’s.
Primary care; sexual and reproductive health; eating disorders; mental health disorders
Interdisciplinary clinical and epidemiologic studies related to prevention of cervical cancer and other diseases caused by human papillomavirus (HPV)
Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
Adolescent Medicine, Adolescent Medicine