Rob Stephenson, PhD
Rob Stephenson is Professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Biological Sciences in the School of Nursing at the University of Michigan. Trained as a Demographer and Epidemiologist, Rob’s work focuses broadly on sexual and reproductive health, with specific foci on HIV prevention for sexual and gender minorities and women’s sexual and reproductive health needs in resource poor countries.
In his HIV focused work, Rob’s mission is to develop and test culturally appropriate HIV prevention interventions for MSM and transgender women, including HIV testing and counseling for male couples, testing dyadic models of care (that allow couples to seek HIV care and treatment together) and experimenting with online service provision to reduce physical and cultural barriers to accessing HIV care among the LGBT population. Rob is particularly interested in the intersections of social stress, violence and HIV risk, with projects that examine how the social stressors experienced by LGBT may shape their experience of intimate partner violence and HIV risk related behaviors. Rob also works on the use of technology and mHealth to influence HIV testing and linkage to HIV care for MSM and transgender women, using mobile technology to help individuals understand and monitor their risks and be linked to local care.
In his work in women’s sexual and reproductive health, Rob has worked extensively in South Asia (India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) and in over 20 sub-Saharan African countries, on projects examining how social scripts and cultural and gender norms shape women’s ability to use and access to sexual and reproductive health services. His work has focused on illustrating how culturally engrained gender inequities shape women’s risk of experiencing intimate partner violence and how this leads to negative sexual and reproductive health outcomes. He has worked on developing and testing community level interventions that tackle conservative gender norms in a bid to increase perceptions of the value of women and their ability to access sexual and reproductive health services.