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International Health

Larissa Jennings, PhD MHS

Larissa Jennings


Assistant Professor
Program in Social and Behavioral Interventions 
Department of International Health

Research Interests

Current Research

Mobile-enhanced microenterprise and behavioral economics for HIV prevention    

Economic vulnerability contributes to HIV risk among racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S. who are disproportionately infected. This study uses a randomized control trial design to test the feasibility and longitudinal efficacy of an enhanced microenterprise pilot adapted for underserved Baltimore and Washington, D.C. communities and integrating mobile-based behavioral economic nudges to improve economic outcomes and reduce sexual risk behaviors in African-American young adults who are homeless, out of school, and unemployed. The feasibility of mobile phone data collection among high-risk youth is also evaluated.

Savings and economic resources for maternal and newborn health care-seeking

Using secondary data analyses in Nigeria and Ghana, this research examines 1) influence of savings, debt, and expected future means on women’s use of skilled obstetric care; and 2) economic and social factors associated with traditional- and mobile-based maternal care seeking during pregnancy, delivery, and the postnatal period.

Financial assets as sexually protective and risk-related factors

In partnership with the HIV Prevention Trials Network and the Suubi-Maka Economic Empowerment Project, this research examines whether, as according to asset theory, improving financial assets of adolescents in rural South Africa and Uganda alters intentions to engage in sexual risk behaviors by motivating more protective attitudes to avoid negative consequences in the future.

Qualitative and psychometric assessment of economic empowerment for health 

Using qualitative research methods, this research examines cross-cultural representations of the intersection between economic empowerment and health among poor youth living in American Indian reservations, post-conflict rural Congo, and Kenyan urban slums. Findings will be used to inform the development and psychometric analyses of an economic empowerment scale and its relation to several health-risk behaviors.