RCAP Faculty

Today's rural communities, despite their stereotypical "safe" image, are not immune from many of the problems of urban areas, such as unprotected sexual behavior, drug and alcohol abuse, and diseases such as human immunodeficiency infection, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and other sexually transmitted diseases. The spread of HIV and other STDs to rural areas of the United States is an important threat to public health. Multiple factors, such as stigma, denial and isolation, contribute to the challenge of HIV/STD prevention in rural communities.

Mission of the Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention

Founded in 1994, the Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention (RCAP) promotes HIV/STD prevention in rural America to reduce HIV/STD prevalence. RCAP is headquartered at Indiana University in the Department of Applied Health Science, School of Public Health – Bloomington. RCAP:

  • provide current prevention resources to professionals and the public
  • develops and evalutes educational materials and approaches to rural HIV/STD prevention
  • shares strategies that might work to overcome behavioral and social barriers related to rural HIV/STD prevention

Special Assistant to the Senior Director

Jeanne White Ginder, mother of Ryan White, was appointed on April 8, 2010 by the RCAP directors as a Special Advisor to the Senior Director. Jeanne will assist RCAP in specific projects, particularly those dealing with HIV/STD education for youth. Since Ryan's death in 1990, Jeanne has been a spokesperson for AIDS education and the rights of people with AIDS. She travels the country and the world speaking to groups and has worked with Congress for the creation and continuation of the "Ryan White Care Act."

Carrie Lawrence, is a practitioner-academic and public health advocate with several years of practice experience in nonprofit and social services. Her applied research examines addressing social justice, health disparities and inequalities by empowering communities to collectively act upon their own health priorities, inform program and intervention design and development as well as health policy and system transformation. Dr. Lawrence has initiated several community-based participatory and translational research projects employing multiple methods that engage and empower community members in identifying, leveraging and sustaining local resources to promote and support individual health. Her current research explores the development of a health commons framework to address consequences of policy on local communities and cultivate empowerment through collective action of local residents to address deficits created by policy agendas counter to their goals.

Justin R. Garica, Ph.D., is Ruth Halls Associate Professor of Gender Studies and Director of Research at The Kinsey Institute, Indiana University, Bloomington. Dr. Garcia holds a MS in biomedical anthropology and PhD in evolutionary biology from Binghamton University. His research interests focus on the evolutionary foundations of variation in monogamy, intimacy, and sexual behavior, with a particular emphasis on biocultural approaches to sex, gender, dating, and reproductive strategies. He has published on a variety of topics related to romantic and sexual relationships, and is co-author (with Peter Gray) of Evolution and Human Sexual Behavior (Harvard University Press) and co-editor of Evolution's Empress: Darwinian Perspectives on the Nature of Women (Oxford University Press). He has been a scientific consultant to Teva Women's Health, K-Y, and since 2010 has been Scientific Advisor to the online dating company Match.com.

Amanda Gesselman, Ph.D., Associate Director for Research, Anita Aldrich Endowed Research Scientist, and Head of the Research Methodology and Analytics Core at The Kinsey Institute, Indiana University. Dr. Gesselman is a social-developmental psychologist who studies meaningful social relationships and trends in love, sex, and well-being, with an emphasis on technology and health behaviors. She has published on a variety of topics related to sexualities, relationships, and mental and physical health, and has been a scientific or statistical consultant for Clue, Jasmin, K-Y, Teva Women's Health, and the online dating company Match.com.

Cynthia Graham, Ph.D., is Professor of Sexual and Reproductive Health, Department of Psychology, University of Southampton, UK. She obtained her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at McGill University and previous appointments include: Director of Graduate Education at The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction, Clinical Professor in the Department of Gender Studies at Indiana University , and Research Psychologist at the MRC Reproductive Biology Unit in Edinburgh . Her research interests are sexual behavior, HIV/STD-related risk behavior, reproductive hormones, and gender differences in sexual behavior. She has conducted research on psychophysiological sexual response patterns; condom errors and problems; the effects of oral contraceptives on mood and sexuality in women; the relationship between the menstrual cycle and changes in mood and sexuality; menstrual synchrony; and methodological issues involved in recall data on sexual behavior.

Alison Green, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Applied Health Science in the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington. Her research interests include evidence-based treatment, technology utilization in treatment, cost analysis, process evaluation, system-level change, mental health, juvenile drug courts, adolescent substance abuse treatment, substance use disorders, sexual health, sexual health education, health education for youth.

Timothy G . Heckman, Ph.D., is Associate Dean for Research, College of Public Health, University of Georgia, specializing in experimental health psychology. His recent research has focused primarily on the mental health needs of rural people living with HIV/AIDS. Dr. Heckman is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health to evaluate the efficacy of a telephone-delivered, coping improvement group intervention for HIV-infected persons living in rural areas and to investigate patterns and predictors of suicidal thoughts among HIV-infected rural residents.

Randolph Hubach, Ph.D., M.P.H. is Director of the Sexual Health Research Lab at Purdue University and Associate Professor of Public Health. He holds a Ph.D. in Health Behavior from Indiana University's School of Public Health and MPH from California State University, Fullerton. Early in his career, Dr. Hubach's research and practice experiences included serving as PI on a federally funded community-based sexual health intervention project, developing managed care programs for local public health and mental health jurisdictions, and serving in leadership positions in multiple community health coalitions and planning processes. As a behavioral scientist and public health researcher, he has gained a practical understanding of the challenges associated with the delivery of public health programs that are scientifically sound and responsive to the needs of diverse communities. Dr. Hubach's research interests include using community engaged principles to address sexuality-related health disparities, sexual behavior, LGBT population health, and HIV/AIDS within rural communities.

Kristen N. Jozkowski, Ph.D., Professor and William L. Yarber Endowed Professor of Sexual Health in the Department of Applied Health Science in the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington. Her research interests include sexual consent and refusal communication, sexual violence prevention, influence of alcohol intoxication on correlates of sexual assault, abortion attitudes, and survey research.

Christina Ludema, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the School of Public Health-Bloomington. Her research interests are in causal inference, social epidemiology, sexually transmitted diseases, and infectious diseases.

Leandro Antonio Mena, M.D., M.P.H., is an Associate Professor of Medicine, Infectious Diseases, and Director, Center for HIV/AIDS Research, Education and Policy, at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi. He earned his medical degree from the Universidad Nacional Pedro Henriquez Urena in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and his MPH from the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana. Dr. Mena is a physician with specialty training in infectious diseases. He has more than 12 years of experience in clinical and epidemiological research in the area of sexually transmitted infections (including HIV), with special interest in the dynamics of transmission and the role that social determinants of health play in perpetuating these epidemics in sexual and gender minority populations. Dr. Mena currently supervises a research team with 10 members dedicated to clinical and epidemiologic research, and serves as the medical director of the Crossroads Clinic (STD/HIV clinic in Jackson, Mississippi), the only publicly funded exclusive STD/HIV clinic in the state, and Open Arms Healthcare Center, a community based clinic that offers primary care services with an emphasis in the health care needs LGBTI populations in Jackson. MS.

Robin Milhausen is a professor in Human Sexuality and Family Relations in the Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition, at the University of Guelph, in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Dr. Milhausen earned her PhD at Indiana University in the Department of Applied Health Science, while working as a research assistant at the Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention. Dr. Milhausen's research interests include: sexual risk-taking among rural youth, condom use errors and problems, sexual arousal and the experience of sexual problems, and gender differences in sexual attitudes and behaviors. Current research projects include: gender differences in desired partner characteristics; sexual arousal and sexual and relationship satisfaction; sexual arousal, condom use errors and problems and sexual risk-taking; scale development and validation.

Molly Rosenberg, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington. She is an epidemiologist and population health researcher who studies how social, structural, and economic factors influence sexual health outcomes. Her work has largely focused on adolescent sexual health in rural South Africa, where the burden of the HIV epidemic continues to be felt most strongly, though her research has represented vulnerable populations of all ages in multiple low- and middle-income countries. Dr. Rosenberg's research is focused on identifying novel structural intervention targets to improve sexual health, with representative studies examining the relationship between alcohol outlets and herpes infections, the influence of school dropout on teen pregnancy, and the potential for anti-poverty programs like cash transfers and microfinance to influence HIV risk.

Stephanie A. Sanders, Ph.D., is Senior Scientist of The Kinsey Institute, Provost Professor and Reg Zeglin Brand Chair, Department of Gender Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington. A biopsychologist by training, she has conducted research on sexual behavior patterns related to risk for sexually transmitted infections; condom use errors and problems; sexual orientation and sexual behavior; sexual arousal in women; sex/gender differences in behavior; sex hormones and behavior; the effects of prenatal exposures to drugs and hormones on behavioral, cognitive and social development; and women's menstrual cycling. She has experience writing and conducting grants funded by NICHD, NIDA, NIMH, and private funding agencies. She is a PI for NIH award, Barriers to Correct Condom Use (R21 HD060447-01), which aims to advance understanding of, among other factors, the role of cognitive and affective processes and condom application skills in explaining problems with condom use, particularly condom-associated erection problems (CAEP), in young, heterosexual adult men.

Eric R. Walsh-Buhi, MPH, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of the Department of Applied Health Science, Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington. His research focuses on 1) understanding and promoting sexual health among young people (including HIV/STD/teen pregnancy prevention), and 2) examining the influence of and employing innovative technologies for health promotion and behavior change (called Digital Health). In conjunction with ETR, Dr. Walsh-Buhi is leading a federally-funded randomized controlled trial (RCT) to test the effectiveness of a new blended learning healthy relationships program, About Us, designed to reduce unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among vulnerable youth, delivered through school-based health centers in California. He is also leading a three-year $1 million grant from the Office of Health Equity, Division of STD Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to address social determinants of health and STDs among Latino/a youth in the South Bay region of San Diego County, California.

Karen Vanterpool, MPH, Ph.D., is a research scientist in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and received her Ph.D. in Health Behavior, minoring in Human Sexuality at the School of Public Health at Indiana University Bloomington. Previously she worked as a Fellow for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and as Research Associate at the Rural South Public Health Training Center at the University of Florida where she worked on a needs assessment assessing rural residents' perceptions of HIV/AIDS service quality, access to care and health disparities. Karen's research interest includes the relationship that cultural identity and acculturation has with risk communication, risk perception and decision-making regarding sexual behaviors; and the role that risk perception plays among those at high risk for contracting HIV including those that are geographically isolated. Karen holds a Masters in Public Health from the University of Florida College of Public Health & Health Professions.

Kirsten Greer, M.S.  Alyssa Lederer, PhD, MPH, MCHES is an Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Health Science at Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington. Dr. Lederer is an applied behavioral scientist and much of her research focuses on the design and evaluation of health promotion interventions, especially in the areas of sexuality education, sexually transmitted infections, and sexual violence prevention among adolescents and emerging adults. She is especially interested in the intersection of health education and behavior change, using mixed methods, and community-driven research. Dr. Lederer received her PhD from Indiana University-Bloomington, MPH from Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, and is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist.

Kirsten Greer, M.S.  Kirsten Greer, M.S. is currently a doctoral student in the School of Public Health at Indiana University. Her major is Health Behavior, and she is minoring in Human Sexuality. Previously, she received her Masters Degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Michigan State University, where she conducted research that focused on the role of media and technology on sexual behaviors such as sexting, women’s pornography use, and school professionals knowledge about students online sexual experiences. Her research interests broadly lie in the process of sexual socialization and its impact on consent in adolescents and emerging adults. Specifically, she plans to investigate how the process of socialization impacts consent decisions and contributes to sexual coercion and compromised sexual agency. Her current research projects explore the role of sexual socialization and acculturation in young Latina Women and its influence on their understanding and expression of sexuality. Additionally, she is conducting research which evaluates the impact of COVID-19 on marital and relationship satisfaction with the Kinsey Institute Condom Use Research Team.

Brandon Merritt, M.S., CCC-SLP, is a doctoral student in the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences at Indiana University. His research focuses on the production and perception of gender information in voice and speech, particularly from gender diverse speakers. He has published in the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research and Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, and has presented at the American Speech-Language Hearing Association Convention and the Acoustical Society of America meeting.

Ivanka Simić Stanojević, M.S.  Ivanka Simić Stanojević, MS is a Ph.D. student at Indiana University’s School of Public Health with a major in Leisure Behavior, holding a master’s degree in Special Education and Rehabilitation from the University of Belgrade, Serbia. With a Ph.D. minor in Sexual and Reproductive Health, Ms. Simić Stanojević’s line of research is focusing on the sexual wellness of women with disabilities. More specifically, her interest lies in improving sexual well-being and preventing sexual abuse and victimization among the highly vulnerable population with developmental and intellectual disabilities through sex-positive and LGBTQ+ inclusive sexual education, self-empowerment, and self-advocacy. Furthermore, Ms. Simić Stanojević is dedicated to exploring and establishing evidence-based practices that improve the mental health and overall well-being of individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Her other research interests include investigating sexual behavior observed through the lens of leisure philosophy and exploring the most effective treatment modalities nested within the field of recreational therapy that could improve sexual wellness in individuals with disabilities. With more than a decade of NGO activism experience in promoting civil rights, equity, and social justice, Ms. Simić Stanojević’s research advocates for the rights of marginalized and underrepresented populations.

RCAP is supported, in part, through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.