Skip to main content


Bloomberg Professor of American Health

Michele Decker, ScD, MPH, studies social determinants of women's health and gender equity, gender-based violence, prevention, and implications for sexual and reproductive health.

Contact Info

615 N. Wolfe Street, Room E4142

Research Interests

Women’s health; gender; disparities; sexual and reproductive health; HIV; intimate partner violence; sexual assault; gender-based violence; sex workers; sex trafficking; adolescent health; maternal and child health; public health and human rights
Experiences & Accomplishments
Harvard School of Public Health
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of Rochester
Michele R. Decker, ScD, MPH, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  She directs the Women's Health & Rights Program of the Center for Public Health & Human Rights, and co-leads the Gender Equity and Justice thematic area of the Alliance for a Healthier World, a Johns Hopkins University Signature Initiative.   A social epidemiologist by training, her research focuses on social determinants of women's health and gender equity with an emphasis on gender-based violence (e.g., sexual assault, intimate partner violence, sex trafficking), its prevention, and its implications for sexual and reproductive health (e.g., STI/HIV, unintended pregnancy).  Much of this work involves marginalized populations including adolescents, urban women, and those involved in transactional sex or sex work.  Her work includes evaluation of empowerment to promote health, clinic- and community-based interventions to mitigate the health and social impact of violence, as well as primary research to understand the mechanisms by which violence influences sexual and reproductive health including HIV risk.  She blends  large-scale quantitative investigations with qualitative methods.   She works domestically as well as globally.
Select Publications
Selected publications from the last 5 years focused on empowerment, violence and other social determinants of women's sexual/reproductive health including HIV.
  • Decker MR, Crago AL, Chu SK, Sherman SG, Seshu MS, Buthelezi K, Dhaliwal M, Beyrer C.Human rights violations against sex workers: burden and effect on HIV. Lancet. 2015 Jan 10;385(9963):186-99.
  • Decker MR, Wilcox HC, Holliday CN, Webster DW.An Integrated Public Health Approach to Interpersonal Violence and Suicide Prevention and Response. Public Health Rep. 2018 Nov/Dec;133(1_suppl):65S-79S.
  • Decker MR, Latimore AD, Yasutake S, Haviland M, Ahmed S, Blum RW, Sonenstein F, Astone NM. Gender-based violence against adolescent and young adult women in low and middle income countries. J Adol Health. 2015;56(2):188-96.
  • Decker MR, Benning L, Weber KM, Sherman SG, Adedimeji A, Wilson TE, Cohen J, Plankey M, Cohen M, Golub ET. Physical and sexual violence predictors: 20 years of the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) Cohort. Am J Prev Med. 2016;51(5):731-742
  • Decker MR, Kalamar A, Tuncalp O; Hindin, MJ. Early adolescent childbearing in low- and middle-income countries: associations with income inequity, human development and gender equality. Health Policy Plan. 2017;32(2):277-282.
Youth and adult microfinance to improve resilience outcomes in DRC
Sex Workers and Police Promoting Health in Risky Environments (SAPPHIRE) study