Luissa Vahedi: PhD Candidate Public Health Sciences
- MSc Epidemiology, Queen’s University
- BHSc Health Science, Western University
- Social Epidemiology
- Global Health
- Social and public policy
Connect with me
I came to the Brown School from Queen’s University in Canada, where I pursued a Master of Science in Epidemiology. Through training in Epidemiology, I gained a skillset in population-based quantitative health research methods and supplemented this training with qualitative methods and philosophies. My research applies the theories and methods of social epidemiology to the study of gender-based violence, mental health, and sexual and reproductive health in fragile settings. As a doctoral candidate, I have specialized in advanced quantitative statistical methods, causal inference, and applying/testing theories in social epidemiology.
My research engages with the questions that are fundamental to preventing and responding to violence:
- What structures perpetuate violence against women and children?
- How does violence interact with nutrition and mental health to create intergenerational health adversities?
- What branches of social and public policies can be integrated to meet the complex needs of people who experience violence?
Conflict, displacement, natural disasters, and weak governance structures characterize fragile settings, where women and girls face specific risk factors for gender-based violence and adverse sexual and reproductive health. However fragility can also be experienced at more regional levels and among so-called “hidden” populations, even in high income countries. I address with both aspects of fragility, national and regional, in my work.
I have been engaging with and leading research projects that further develop methods of data collection and analysis in fragile settings for the purpose of rapid and rigorous evidence generation. I am passionate about identifying research and policy areas where qualitative methods and epidemiology can intersect to deepen the understanding of how gender based violence impacts multiple areas of health and wellbeing, from cellular to societal levels.
Since 2020, I have been investigating how the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the landscape for gender-based violence prevention, response, and mitigation as well as sexual and reproductive health care, both nationally and internationally. I am actively collaborating with Dr. Lindsay Stark and Kim Thuy Seelinger.
Peace as a Fundamental Determinant of Health Project
In 2021-2022, I joined the American Journal for Public Health Think Tank, where I conceptualized and led a project that brought together two disciplines (peace studies and public health) to better address how conflict, forced displacement, and fragility of governance structures impact the sustainability of public health research and practice.
This project had two components: (1) Call for student papers, where I served as a guest editor and (2) Virtual symposium to disseminate the work of the selected student scholars, where I served as moderator and organizer:
- Read the 2022 February Issue of the American Journal of Public Health, where the student call for papers on “Peace as a Fundamental Determinant of Health” was published.
- Watch the Peace for Public Health Symposium online
- “COVID-19 and Violence against Women and Girls: Understanding Synergies, Long-term Consequences, and Lessons Learned for a More Equitable Future.” Presented at: The Centre for Research on Pandemics & Society in Oslo. Date: March 2, 2023
Peace and Health
- Vahedi, L., Harb, C., Tate, S., Nguyen, A., Ellis, T., Woolsey, S., and Suen J J. (2023). When Peace Is Threatened, So Is Public Health. American Journal of Public Health 113, 132_132, https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2022.307185
Social epidemiology: Merging theory, measurement, and data collection
- Collins-Anderson, A., Vahedi, L., Hutson, W., Hudson, D. (2022). Intersectionality and mental health among emerging adult black American men: A scoping review. Current Psychiatry Reports.
Measurement of sensitive data
- Vahedi, L., Qushua, N., Seff, I., Doering, M., Stoll, C., Bartels, S. A., & Stark, L. (2022). Methodological and Ethical Implications of Using Remote Data Collection Tools to Measure Sexual and Reproductive Health and Gender-Based Violence Outcomes among Women and Girls in Humanitarian and Fragile Settings: A Mixed Methods Systematic Review of Peer-Reviewed Research. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse. https://doi.org/10.1177/15248380221097439
- Seff I, Vahedi L, McNelly S, et al. (2021). Remote evaluations of violence against women and girls interventions: a rapid scoping review of tools, ethics and safety. BMJ Global Health 2021;6:e006780.
Gender based violence and Nutrition
- Vahedi L, Orjuela-Grimm M, Bhatt-Carreno S, Meyer SR (2023) Childhood and adolescent nutrition outcomes among girls exposed to gender-based violence: A rapid evidence assessment of quantitative research. PLOS ONE 18(2): e0281961. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0281961
Gender based violence and COVID-19
- Vahedi, L., Seff, I., Olaya Rodriguez, D., McNelly, S., Interiano Perez, A. I., Erskine, D., … & Stark, L. (2022). “At the Root of COVID Grew a More Complicated Situation”: A Qualitative Analysis of the Guatemalan Gender-Based Violence Prevention and Response System during the COVID-19 Pandemic. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(17), 10998.
- Asi, Y.M., Bebasari, P., Hardy, E., Lokot, M., Meagher, K., Ogbe, E., Ateeb, AP., Sharma, V., Standley, C., Vahedi, L . Assessing gender responsiveness of COVID-19 response plans for populations in conflict-affected humanitarian emergencies. Confl Health 16, 4 (2022).
- Meinhart, M., Vahedi, L., Carter, S.E. et al. Gender-based violence and infectious disease in humanitarian settings: lessons learned from Ebola, Zika, and COVID-19 to inform syndemic policy making. Confl Health 15, 84 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13031-021-00419-9
- Vahedi L, Anania J, Kelly J. (2021) “Gender Based Violence and COVID-19 in Fragile Settings: A Syndemic Model”. Special Report: The United States Institutes of Peace
- Stark L, Meinhart M, Vahedi L, Carter S, Roesch E, Scott Moncrieff I, Mwanze Palaku P, Rossi F, Poulton C. (2020) “The syndemic of COVID-19 and Gender Based Violence in Humanitarian Settings: Leveraging Lessons from Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo”. BMJ Global Health. Accepted October 17th, 2020
Gender based violence in fragile settings
- Meinhart, M., Seff, I., Troy, K., McNelly, S., Vahedi, L., Poulton, C., & Stark, L. (2021). Identifying the impact of intimate partner violence in humanitarian settings: using an ecological framework to review 15 years of evidence. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(13), 6963.
- Bartels, S. A., Michael, S., Vahedi, L., Collier, A., Kelly, J., Davison, C., Scott, J., Parmar, P., & Geara, P. (2019). SenseMaker® as a monitoring and evaluation tool to provide new insights on gender-based violence programs and services in Lebanon. Evaluation and Program Planning, 77, 1-13.
Sexual exploitation and abuse
- Wagner, K., Tasker, H., Vahedi, L., Bartels, S. A., & Lee, S. (2022). Born between war and peace: Situating peacekeeper-fathered children in research on children born of war. Frontiers in Political Science, 4, 945617.
- Vahedi L, Stuart H, Etienne S, Wisner S, Lee S, Bartels SA. “It’s because We are ‘Loose Girls’ That’s why We had Children with MINUSTAH Soldiers”: A Qualitative Analysis of Stigma Experienced by Peacekeeper-Fathered Children and Their Mothers in Haiti. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. February 2022. doi:10.1177/08862605211072178
- Vahedi, L., Lee, S., Bartels, S. A. (2021). “Proactive and reactive responses to pregnancies resulting from sexual exploitation and abuse: An ecological model based on Haitian survivors’ experiences”. Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research.
- Vahedi, L., Stuart, H., Etienne, S., Lee, S., & Bartels, S. A. (2021). The Distribution and Consequences of Sexual Misconduct Perpetrated by Peacekeepers in Haiti: An Exploratory Cross-Sectional Analysis. Social Sciences, 10(7), 270
- Vahedi, L., Stuart, H., Etienne, S., Lee, S., & Bartels, S. A. (2021). Gender-Stratified Analysis of Haitian Perceptions Related to Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Perpetrated by UN Peacekeepers during MINUSTAH. Sexes, 2(2), 216-243.
- Vahedi L, Bartels SA, Lee S. (2020) “‘His Future will not be Bright’: A Qualitative Analysis of Mothers’ Lived Experiences Raising Peacekeeper-Fathered Children in Haiti”. Child and Youth Services Review. Accepted October 17th, 2020
- Vahedi, L., Bartels, S. A., & Lee, S. (2019). ‘Even peacekeepers expect something in return’: A qualitative analysis of sexual interactions between UN peacekeepers and female Haitians. Global Public Health, 1692, 1–14.