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Faculty Feature: Kamila A. Alexander

Kamila A. Alexander, PhD, MPH, RN, is an Associate Professor and Associate Director of PhD and Postdoctoral programs at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. As a trained advanced practice public health nurse, Dr. Alexander is recognized for her scientific and community-engaged leadership in advancing health equity.

How did you get into the field of injury prevention?

During my dissertation research, which was mostly qualitative and focused on understanding emotional drivers of sexual decision making, I heard patterns of stories that included violence and that got me interested and brought me back to my clinical experiences. Previously, when I was a public health nurse focused on managing care for women living with HIV, there were several instances of women talking about violent incidences with their partner. So, I thought there might be a good reason to think about how those are connected. I formally got introduced to the empirical ways they are connected when I joined Dr. Jackie Campbell's Interdisciplinary Violence and Training grant as a postdoc fellow here at Johns Hopkins. That's when my work really began to focus on the intersection between sexual reproductive health risks and violence.

Tell us about an active project that you are currently working on.

The One More Step research study. We're developing an intervention for Black women, drawing out some of the cultural norms of being a Black woman, including Superwoman schema -- an empirical measure that's been tested -- to understand how we can help Black women living with HIV and experiencing intimate partner violence engage in their HIV care, as well as enhance their safety strategies in relationships that might be violent. It's really a mental health intervention focused on decreasing stigma as a mechanism for enhancing care engagement and safety strategies. I'm excited about the possibilities of this intervention.

What is your favorite part about being affiliated with the Injury Center? 

The opportunity to work in an interdisciplinary fashion. I love the social aspect in terms of the events that happen and bring me into a space where people are doing similar work, it's an opportunity to learn about different areas of injury and violence research. It's expanded my network within Hopkins in a way that I hadn't expected. People that wouldn't probably know about my work send me emails when they see something that might be of interest to me. I feel like a bit of a unicorn in that from a disciplinary standpoint and nursing perspective, I'm able to bring different skills, experiences, and expertise to the the whole milieu.

What tv show are you watching right now? What do you like about it?

Fatal Seduction on Netflix. It takes place in South Africa. It's about a woman who's actually an academic, a professor who studies gender-based violence, that I did not actually know before I started watching, who gets into an affair with a student unbeknownst to her, who's actually been stalking her because of this long history that involves her husband and a wrongful conviction of the students’ father. Quite a bit of mystery and I love that it takes place in a different culture.