Amy Donovan, PhD

TitlePGD, Investigator
SchoolUCSF School of Medicine
DepartmentInstitute for Health Policy Studies
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    Anthropologist, Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, UCSF amydonovan@alum.wellesley.edu

    Brief Description of Recent Research Activities:

    My health disparities research documents the efforts of poor, marginally housed, and homeless young people to access primary care, reduce and eliminate harms from substance use, obtain reproductive health care and HIV/STI services. The focus is on identifying structural factors including the rights, entitlements, laws and policies that influence young people’s ability to obtain needed healthcare and housing services.

    My most recent study addresses the challenges of carrying out longitudinal research with resource challenged, migratory populations. Utilizing new technologies designed for computers and GPS-enabled mobile phones, our research team is collaborating with highly mobile homeless young adults to create two types of maps. The first documents their migration routes as they travel over time. The second map details their experiences with health care providers and with different types of housing and shelter, as well as their jobs and income generating activities. In conjunction with extensive one to one interviewing, these maps give us new insight into what motivates movement, the decision to remain sedentary, and relocation.

    Academic Appointment: Assistant Specialist,
    Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies
    UCSF, Laurel Heights Campus
    3333 California Street, Suite 245
    San Francisco, CA 94118

    Current Areas of Teaching:

    • Global Health and Human Rights
    • Social Science and Medicine, Focus on: Health Disparities, Unmet Need, and the Role of
    Urban Social Support Networks in Providing Care
    • Social Inequalities: Exploitation and Empowerment, Social and Political Movements,
    Civil Society and Marginalized Populations
    • Research Methods: participatory, qualitative, social history, and geospatial
    • Advanced Studies in Gender and Sexuality

    Selected Awards:

    • Recipient of Technology Development Award
    (NIH/NCRR UCSF-CTSI Grant Number UL1 RR024131) Piloting New GPS and
    Cell Phone Technologies for T2 Translational Research with Mobile Homeless Youth
    (October 2010—June, 2011.

    • Recipient of NIH NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship,
    UC Berkeley School of Public Health (2002-4),
    Fellowship included support for two intensive training programs:

    Practicum: Center for Community Health, Education & Research (CCHER)
    and Partners in Health (Harvard School of Public Health),
    Haitian Creole Summer Institute, Intensive Language Study
    University of Massachusetts, Boston (2002)

    Summer Institute on Sexuality, Society, and Health,
    National Sexuality Resource Center, 2004.

    • Recipient of NIH Loan Repayment Award for Research in Health Disparities,
    two years. (2004, 2005)

    • San Francisco Arts Commission Grant
    Recipient with Teaching Intermedia Literacy Tools
    Included participatory research: The Labor Memoir Project. (2001-2002)

    • Recipient of Bay Area Homelessness Program Grant
    Utilized to produce a museum exhibition with homeless youth on their own
    Including youth who were transnational migrants from Mexico and Central America (1995)

    International Activities:

    • Collaboration with HIV/AIDS Unit, Cape Peninsula University of Technology,
    Cape Town, South Africa to Develop a Program to Incentivize Couples Testing
    for University Students and University Staff

    • Conducted Formal Interviews in:
    Havana, Cuba
    Guatemala City, Guatemala
    Tijuana, Mexico

    University Presentations:

    Concordia University, Montréal; Yale University; Indiana University, Bloomington; Santa Clara University; New College; California State University East Bay; University of California, Berkeley

    Federal Grantee Meetings (HRSA): Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS) Developing New Models to Improve HIV Prevention, Treatment, and Care with young MSM of Color (Washington, DC)

    Annual Professional Meetings: American Anthropological Association Annual Meetings in San Francisco, San Jose, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., San Francisco, and Visual Research Conference (Philadelphia),

    Served as Judge for the Payne Prize Award

    Presentations at UCSF: UCSF Health Disparities Research Symposium, UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, UCSF Qualitative Working Group

    Selected Publications:

    • Telling Me Different: An Ethnography of Homeless Youth, Duke University Press,
    under review.

    • “Ethnography of a Transgender Scene in Oakland”, California Volume 5, Issue 2 of
    Ethnography (July 2004). Stephen L. Eyre, Rebecca de Guzman, Amy A. Donovan,
    Calvin Boissiere.

    • Reflections on Ethical Issues Working with Street Youth May 2004 vol.37 no.1.
    The Newsletter of the Alcohol and Drug Study Group, Special Issue on Ethics.

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