ORWH - Understudied, Underrepresented, and Underreported Women Lecture Series

Date and Time

– September 12, 2019, 04:30 PM EDT
Mass Incarceration, Housing, and HIV/STI Risk: Focusing Attention on Women
Event Information

The lecture will focus on the role mass incarceration plays in women’s risk of acquiring sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as HIV, specifically through its impact on women’s access to housing and their provision of housing for themselves, their children, and their partners (many of whom may have an incarceration history). Mass incarceration signifies a major structure through which racial, class, and gender inequalities are produced and maintained in contemporary U.S. society. As such, it represents an important social determinant of health, though more research is needed on the mechanisms through which it affects health. Furthermore, women have received limited attention in research on mass incarceration and health. In this presentation, Dr. Blankenship will examine survey and qualitative interview data from an ongoing longitudinal, mixed-methods study of low-income residents in New Haven, CT, half of whom had been released from prison or jail within a year of study enrollment, to describe the complex ways that women’s HIV/STI-related risks may be associated with mass incarceration. Dr. Blankenship and her team consider women as individuals with their own criminal justice histories and as the partners and family members of those who have been incarcerated, as well as residents of neighborhoods deeply affected by mass incarceration. 

Event Speaker

Kim M. Blankenship, Ph.D.
Professor of Sociology and Associate Dean of Research, College of Arts and Sciences, American University

Dr. Blankenship is a Professor of Sociology at American University (AU) and Associate Dean of Research in AU’s College of Arts and Sciences. She is also Codirector of the Social and Behavioral Sciences Core of the District of Columbia Center for AIDS Research (DC CFAR) and was Founding Director of AU’s Center on Health, Risk, and Society. Previously, she served on the faculty at the Yale School of Public Health, where from 1998 to 2008 she was the Associate Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS. Her research and publications focus on the social dimensions of health—particularly on how social structures, processes, and relations of inequality produce health—and on structural interventions to promote health. She has brought this perspective to understanding vulnerability to and prevention of HIV/AIDS among drug users, female sex workers, and populations in the U.S. affected by mass incarceration. She is currently conducting NIH-funded research on the intersecting effects of mass incarceration, housing instability, and subsidized housing policies on racial inequities in HIV/AIDS. She is also part of a team of collaborators based at Temple University’s Center for Public Health Law Research seeking to provide an account of the ways law is influencing health equity in housing.


Individuals with disabilities who need reasonable accommodations to participate in the event should contact Dana Simms (dana.simms@nih.gov).