SHARE Lab

Overview

The Sexual Health and Reproductive Experiences (SHARE) Lab is a collaborative, multidisciplinary research group directed by Dr. Madina Agénor, Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Center for Health Promotion and Health Equity at Brown University School of Public Health.

The SHARE Lab investigates sexual and reproductive health inequities in relation to multiple, intersecting 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.

SHARE Lab members conduct cutting-edge quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods research to elucidate the structural and social determinants of sexual and reproductive health among marginalized 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 (i.e., National Survey of Family Growth, National Health Interview Survey), online surveys, in-depth interviews, and focus groups, SHARE Lab members examine how multilevel social and health care factors (e.g., access to health information, patient-provider communication, discrimination, clinical practice guidelines, 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.

The SHARE Lab’s ultimate goal is to help inform the development and implementation of research-based policiesprograms, and practices that promote access to high-quality sexual and reproductive health care among marginalized groups as well as equity in sexual and reproductive health outcomes.

People

SHARE Lab projects are led by Madina Agénor, ScD, MPH and conducted in collaboration with undergraduate and graduate research assistants and research collaborators at universities across the U.S., including Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School, University of California at San Francisco, and Boston University School of Public Health.

Madina Agénor, ScD, MPH , Director

Madina Agénor, ScD, MPH (she/her) is Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Center for Health Promotion and Health Equity at 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 the structural and social determinants of sexual and reproductive health and cancer screening and prevention among marginalized populations—especially sexual minority cisgender women and girls, transgender and gender diverse young adults, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people of color—using an intersectional lens and a mixed-methods research approach. Dr. Agénor completed postdoctoral research training in cancer prevention equity at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and was Visiting Research Faculty at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS at Yale University. 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, a Master of Public Health (MPH) in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and a bachelor’s degree (AB) in Community Health and Gender Studies from Brown University.

Current Members

Ashley Pérez, MPH, Graduate Research Assistant

Ashley Pérez (she/her) is a PhD candidate in Medical Sociology at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). She is interested in gender, sexual orientation, and racial/ethnic inequities in sexual health, sexual health care, and cancer prevention. Ashley received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Brown University, where she worked as a research assistant on several studies focused on HIV prevention. In the SHARE Lab, she serves as the lead quantitative data analyst for studies examining sexual orientation identity and racial/ethnic disparities in HPV vaccination, cervical and breast cancer screening, contraceptive care, health insurance and access to health care, and patient-provider interactions. 

Emily Unger, Graduate Research Assistant

Emily Unger (she/her) is an MD/PhD student at Harvard Medical School and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.  Her doctoral work in social epidemiology focuses on gender, uncompensated caregiving, and the impact of social policy on caregivers’ health.  Prior to beginning graduate studies, she worked as a paralegal at the New York Legal Assistance Group, where she advocated for low-income elderly and disabled people’s access to health benefits and home care through Medicare and Medicaid.  In the SHARE Lab, she is the lead quantitative data analyst for a study examining how state Medicaid expansions affected HPV vaccination and other sexual and reproductive health services use among young women, especially in relation to sexual orientation and race/ethnicity.

Florence AlmedaUndergraduate Research Assistant

Florence Almeda (she/her) is a sophomore at Tufts University majoring in Community Health and Sociology. She is interested in sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health inequities related to gender, sexual orientation, and race/ethnicity. Previously, she was an immunology research assistant at Loyola University Medical Center and conducted research analyzing the interplay between multilingualism and STEM education among young children as a part of the The Readiness through Integrative Science and Engineering (RISE) Project at Tufts. In the SHARE Lab, Florence conducts literature reviews and provides assistance with qualitative data analysis and manuscript and grant preparation.

Amanda Wilhoit, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Amanda Wilhoit (she/her) is a sophomore at Tufts University studying Community Health and Food Systems & Nutrition. Her interests include health disparities among LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly in terms of access to sexual education and clinical care. In the SHARE Lab, Amanda conducts literature reviews and provides assistance with qualitative data analysis and manuscript and grant preparation.

Allison Rhodes, Graduate Research Assistant

Allison Rhodes (she/her) is a third year MD/MPH student at Tufts University School of Medicine. She is interested in investigating health inequities in the LGBTQ population and improving healthcare outcomes for sexual and gender minority youth. She has experience advocating for LGBTQ medical education reform on the AMA Medical Student Section’s Committee on LGBTQ issues and as Chair of the GLMA Health Professionals in Training’s Curricular Reform Committee. In the SHARE Lab, she is leading a qualitative research study examining the HPV vaccination attitudes and experiences of transgender and gender diverse young adults assigned female at birth. 

Dougie Zubizarreta, Graduate Research Assistant

Dougie Zubizarreta (he/they) is a Master of Science student in Epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He is interested in the social determinants of sexual and reproductive health among marginalized U.S. populations, especially unhoused and low-income youth, youth of color, LGBQ/T youth, and youth at the intersections of these identities. In the SHARE Lab, they are contributing to the preparation of several manuscripts examining the social determinants of sexual and reproductive health care among transmasculine young adults of color.

Elle Lett, MBiostat, Graduate Research Assistant

Elle Lett (they/them) is a Black, genderqueer, physician-scientist in training. They are in their third year of the PhD Program in Epidemiology and fifth year overall as an MD-PhD Candidate at the University of Pennsylvania. Their work focuses on intersectionality, specifically engaging transgender/gender minority and racial/ethnic minority communities. They hold a bachelor’s degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Harvard College and a master’s degree in Biostatistics from Duke University. They plan to pursue residency training in Emergency Medicine and use health services research and social epidemiology to motivate policy changes that help achieve health equity for marginalized populations in the United States. In the SHARE Lab, they are conducting quantitative analyses examining how gender identity and racial discrimination influence the sexual health of transgender and gender-expansive U.S. young adults of color.

Cynthia Smith, MSQualitative Research Coordinator

Cynthia Smith (she/her) is an early career professional who earned her M.S. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She currently works as a Mental Health Counselor in New Jersey, specializing in working with eating disorders and LGBTQ+ populations with an emphasis on gender affirming care for trans and gender expansive clients. She has experience in working with trans and gender expansive individuals as both a clinician and researcher. In addition to these experiences, Cynthia is passionate about health equity and social justice, which she integrates into her counseling practice and research projects, including a current project on the experiences of eating disorders and body image concerns among trans and gender diverse populations as influenced by their access to gender affirming care. In the SHARE lab, she is the Qualitative Research Coordinator for a qualitative study that explores the consideration of LGBTQ+ and racial equity in the development and implementation of cervical cancer screening guidelines using in-depth interviews with health care equity leaders.

Merrily LeBlanc, Qualitative Research Assistant

Merrily LeBlanc (she/her) studied Sociology & Psychology at Stony Brook University and is currently a research assistant at The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health. Her research interests include investigating the impact of bias and discrimination on health and wellness, with a focus on issues specific to the LGBTQ+ community. Merrily has experience working directly with patients and strives to both minimize health inequities and improve the quality of care for structurally marginalized communities in her work. In the SHARE Lab, she serves as a research assistant for a qualitative study that explores the consideration of LGBTQ+ and racial equity in the development and implementation of cervical cancer screening guidelines using in-depth interviews with health care equity leaders.

Tara Ahmadi, MPH, Graduate Research Assistant

Tara Ahmadi (she/her) is a medical student at Tufts University School of Medicine, interested in advocacy, research and medical education. She received her undergraduate degree in chemical biology from UC Berkeley. After working for a few years, she studied public health with a concentration in global health at Tufts University School of Medicine. Tara has been involved in different research projects with a public health focus during her time in medical school. Tara’s research interests are health inequities and medical ethics, reproductive health and rights, and health in LGBTQIA+ and immigrant populations. In the SHARE lab, she is contributing to a qualitative research study examining HPV vaccination attitudes and experiences among transgender and gender diverse young adult assigned female at birth.

Lab Alumni

Raquel Jones, BA, Research Assistant, UMass Boston

Alexis Griffin, MD, Resident Research Assistant, Tufts University School of Medicine

Sophia Geffen, MPH, Qualitative Research Coordinator, Johns Hopkins University

Elissa Perez, Undergraduate Research Assistant, Tufts University

Leanne Loo, Undergraduate Research Assistant, Tufts University

Natasha Ramanayake, MS, PhD, Graduate Research Assistant, Suffolk University

Gabe Murchison, MPH, Graduate Research Assistant, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Allison McGuirk, BA, Undergraduate Research Assistant, Tufts University

Jesse Najarro, BA, Undergraduate Research Assistant, Tufts University

Research Opportunities

Research opportunities are available in the SHARE Lab for undergraduate and graduate students.

These may include conducting literature reviews, collecting qualitative or quantitative data, qualitative or quantitative data analysis, and assisting with manuscript preparation.

For more information about current research opportunities available in the SHARE Lab, please contact Dr. Madina Agénor at madina_agenor@brown.edu.