About

Background

Madina HeadshotDr. Madina Agénor, ScD, MPH is Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Center for Health Promotion and Health Equity at the Brown University School of Public Health. She is also Adjunct Faculty at The Fenway Institute and leads the Sexual Health and Reproductive Experiences (SHARE) Lab.

As a social epidemiologist, Dr. Agénor investigates health inequities in relation to multiple social positions and power relations – especially sexual orientation and heterosexism, gender and (cis)sexism, and race/ethnicity and racism – using an intersectional lens and a mixed-methods research approach. Specifically, she uses quantitative and qualitative research methods to investigate the structural and social determinants of sexual and reproductive health and cancer screening and prevention among marginalized U.S. populations, especially sexual minority cisgender women and girls, transgender and gender diverse young adults, Black and other cisgender women of color, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people of color.

Using national probability sample surveys, online surveys, in-depth interviews, and focus groups, Dr. Agénor examines how multilevel social and health care factors (e.g., access to health information, patient-provider communication, discrimination, health and social policies) shape inequities in cervical cancer screening, human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination, HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing, and contraceptive care across and within sexual orientation, racial/ethnic, and gender groups in the U.S. Her current research seeks to elucidate how multiple, intersecting forms of structural and interpersonal discrimination, including racism, heterosexism, and (cis)sexism, independently and jointly influence in access to and utilization of these preventive services and related health outcomes among multiply marginalized groups. The goal of her research is to help inform research-based policies, programs, and practices that promote equity in sexual and reproductive health and cancer outcomes.

As the Principal Investigator of a K01 career development award from the National Cancer Institute, she is examining how provider- and policy-level factors influence sexual orientation and racial/ethnic disparities in human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination among U.S. women. Dr. Agénor’s research has also been supported by the American Cancer Society, Society of Family Planning, and National Institute of Mental Health. Her research been published in leading public health and medical peer-reviewed journals, including American Journal of Public HealthSocial Science & MedicineAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine, and Annals of Internal Medicine. Additionally, she has presented her research findings at conferences across the U.S., including the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting, AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting, and Society of Family Planning Annual Meeting. Dr. Agénor has been invited to lecture on intersectionality and population health, LGBTQ+ health, and sexual and reproductive health equity at various academic institutions, including Harvard University, Brandeis University, Barnard College, Haverford College, San Diego State University, Columbia University, and Brown University.

As an educator, Dr. Agénor has developed and taught undergraduate courses focusing on gender, sexuality, and health and reproductive health, rights, and justice at Harvard University and Tufts University. She has also taught graduate courses pertaining to sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice and qualitative research methods at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Additionally, she has mentored undergraduate, masters, and doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows in the areas of study design, quantitative and qualitative research methods, cancer screening and prevention, LGBTQ+ health, sexual and reproductive health, and career development.

Dr. Agénor completed postdoctoral research training in cancer prevention equity as part of the Harvard Educational Program in Cancer Prevention (2013-2015) and was Visiting Research Faculty at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS at Yale University (2017-2019). She holds a Doctor of Science (ScD) in Social and Behavioral Sciences with a concentration in Women, Gender, and Health from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a Master of Public Health (MPH) in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and a bachelor’s degree (AB, magna cum laude with Honors) in Community Health and Gender Studies from Brown University.

Areas of Expertise

  • Intersectionality and population health
  • Cancer screening and prevention equity
  • Sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice
  • Structural and social determinants of health equity
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) health

Education

  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Harvard Educational Program in Cancer Prevention, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 2013-2015
  • Doctor of Science (ScD) in Social and Behavioral Sciences with concentration in Women, Gender, and Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 2013
  • Master of Public Health (MPH) in Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, 2008
  • Bachelor of Arts (AB), magna cum laude with Honors in Community Health and Gender Studies, Brown University, 2005
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) Candidate, Wellesley College, 2001-2003

Photo credit: Whitney E. Waddell