Current Scholars

Corinne Rocca

Corinne RoccaDr. Rocca is an epidemiologist focused on understanding the complex relationship between birth control use, accidental pregnancy, and women’s attitudes about both topics. Earlier research has shown that some women have mixed feelings about pregnancy, concerns about the side effects of birth control, and mistrust of healthcare providers. Dr. Rocca will explore how these beliefs are connected to young women’s use of birth control, risk of unplanned pregnancy, and disparities in these outcomes. Her innovative methods include item response theory to construct improved psychometric measures of contraceptive and pregnancy attitudes. The ultimate outcome of her work will be improved reproductive health care policies and provider practices that will meet the needs of the United States’ diverse women.

 

Catherine Koss

Cait KossDr. Koss is a physician focused on clinical research to prevent and treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) among women. Women account for nearly one in five new HIV infections in the United States. Dr. Koss will explore women’s use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), new HIV prevention approach that gives HIV-negative people anti-HIV medications, reducing their risk of becoming infected if exposed to the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 468,000 US women may benefit from PrEP, but this important prevention strategy is both underused and understudied among women. Although clinical and pharmacokinetic research has shown that PrEP prevents HIV acquisition, the level of adherence required to prevent HIV infection may be higher for women than men. Using a mixed methods approach and data from pharmacokinetic and open-label PrEP cohort studies, Dr. Koss will examine whether women and men use PrEP differently, and how consistently women and men need to use PrEP to get optimal pharmacologic levels of the medications. Her study will provide a first look at PrEP adherence among US women, and new insights into sex differences in adherence and related factors. Ultimately, her work will help identify how women can use PrEP effectively and ways that health care providers can support them.

 

Yeyi Zhu

Yeyi ZhuDr. Zhu is an epidemiologist with postdoctoral training on reproductive and perinatal epidemiology at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Dr. Zhu joined Kaiser Permanente Northern California (KPNC) to expand the scale and generalizability of her work to a real-world healthcare setting serving over 3 million members. Her research focuses on women’s cardiac and metabolic health across the lifespan, particularly the interface of the cause of disease and prevention strategies. Gestational diabetes (GDM) has become the most common pregnancy complication in the US, and is a growing and urgent public health concern due to its short- and long-term sequelae for affected women and infants. The number of GDM-complicated pregnancies that require resource intensive medication therapy (insulin and oral agents) has been increasing. For women who may eventually require medication therapy – rather than lifestyle modification alone – the amount of time that passes between the first- and last-line therapies is not trivial. This timing is a challenge to effective treatment. Dr. Zhu will develop and validate a risk prediction model for GDM treatment procedures using electronic health record data from a cohort of GDM-complicated pregnancies from the KPNC Pregnancy Glucose Tolerance and GDM Registry. Ultimately, healthcare providers may be able to use this clinically-oriented model for GDM treatment in a risk-based model of care.