Amanda E. Tanner PhD, MPH
Education and Training
I received my undergraduate degree from Saint Olaf College. I completed my graduate work at Indiana University a master's in public health and my doctorate in health behavior where I trained with the Center for Sexual Health Promotion and the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction. I completed postdoctoral research fellowships at the Indiana University School of Medicine Section of Adolescent Medicine and with the W.K. Kellogg Community Health Scholars Program at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health.Research Interests
As a public health behavioral researcher, I am interested in health disparities especially as they relate to sexual and reproductive health outcomes. The central, integrated research areas that drive my public health research agenda include: 1) Community Engagement; 2) Infectious Disease Behavioral Science; and 3) Promotion of Sexual and Reproductive Health. In order to adequately address public health issues, especially health disparities, I believe it is crucial to conduct research grounded in the community and in strong theoretical and conceptual frameworks. My training in health behavior necessitates an understanding of both the individual and community context under which behaviors occur to promote sexual and reproductive health. While my research focuses primarily on women and adolescents within each of these research areas, I endeavor to maintain a focus on diverse populations to consider how these complex issues are understood within specific cultural contexts. Methodologically I incorporate quantitative, qualitative and mixed-method designs as appropriate to the specific research question.Past and Current Studies
The concentration of much of my work has been on the promotion of sexual and reproductive health, including assessing the acceptability of hormonal contraceptives and microbicides (product in development to prevent transmission of HIV/STI) among young women. In order to support product use and overall sexual health, public health professionals need to consider the multiple factors (e.g., substance use, communication skills, relationship quality) that influence motivation for engaging in sexual behaviors and use of contraceptive and disease prevention methods. Empowering young people to make healthy sexual decisions requires us to understand the social and relationship factors that influence sexual behaviors and decisions. Decreasing the immediate (e.g., STI, unintended pregnancy) and long-term (e.g., infertility) consequences of sexual behaviors depends on a comprehensive understanding of these factors. While this research focuses on the potential reduction of negative outcomes associated with young women's sexual behaviors, it also incorporates the influence of relationship contexts on the ways in which women and their partners negotiate sexual interactions and pleasure-centered experiences. The continued exploration and consideration of how multiple identities, including age, gender, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, influence individual's sexual behaviors is essential in the promotion of health. My research is important as it addresses the socio-cultural contexts in which sexual behaviors and decisions occur for the promotion of positive sexual development.
The majority of my current research agenda focuses on sexual and reproductive health particularly with adolescents and young adults, including two primary projects:
- ATN 093: Linkage and engagement of adolescent in HIV care. This study is being conducted within the Adolescent Medicine Trials Network and evaluates a program designed to streamline the diagnosis and treatment components for HIV-infected adolescents. Analysis for this project is ongoing.
- ICE: Increasing HIV Care Engagement. This qualitative study examines factors influencing care practices for individuals living with HIV in the Charlotte, NC metropolitan area. The study also explores the affect of an HIV diagnosis on contraceptive and fertility intentions and how fertility desires may increase adherence to medical care and treatment.
I have taught across all of our academic programs. In the undergraduate program, I have taught Introduction to Public Health and Community Observation and Assessment. The courses I have taught in the MPH program include Community Health Analysis and Community Health Interventions. I have also taught Qualitative Research Methods and Community-based Health Education Research in the doctoral program.