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Headshot of GCPR student Deborah Baron. Department of Health Behavior, Gillings School of Global Public Health, PhD Student

I’m a fourth-year doctoral candidate in the Department of Health Behavior and a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Predoctoral Fellow. I’m an activist scholar and trained public health professional with 20 years’ experience working in the HIV and gender empowerment fields, of which 11 years were based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Working at the intersection of sexual and reproductive health, combination HIV prevention interventions and adolescent health, my participatory research focuses on the role that biomedical, behavioral, and structural interventions can play in addressing gender inequities. For my dissertation, I’m conducting a mixed methods participatory study to explore how resilience operates across the social ecological levels to provide protective benefits to young women who have experienced adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and their sexual and reproductive health. Before joining this PhD program, I served as a Researcher and Technical Head of Good Participatory Practice at the South African-based Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute, where I managed multi-party HIV prevention research consortia conducting large-scale biomedical HIV prevention clinical trials; and oversaw stakeholder engagement activities.

You can learn more about my work on Good Participatory Practices and how stakeholder engagement improves HIV prevention biomedical research.