alison norris

Alison Norris

Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases, The Ohio State University
Chapter Leader: Central Ohio SSN

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About Alison

Norris is an epidemiologist and medical doctor who studies sexual and reproductive health with a goal of preventing sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and improving reproductive outcomes for women and men. Norris has a particular interest in understanding how context (e.g. endemic disease, social norms, demographic factors, and cultural and institutional structures) influence health and disease. Her research has been largely conducted in eastern and southern Africa. Partnering with an interdisciplinary team of scientists and health practitioners at Ohio State University and in Malawi, she initiated a program of research in Malawi called Umoyo wa Thanzi (UTHA, Health for Life), aimed at understanding how women’s and men’s decision making impacts 1) fertility, family planning, pregnancy, and childbirth; and 2) HIV and STI testing and treatment.



Does Knowledge about Abortion Depend on Where People Live?

  • Alison Norris

In the News

"Reproductive Rights and Reproductive Justice," Alison Norris, Interview with Patrick Potyondy and Mark Sokolsky, Origins, January 2016.


"Connecting Knowledge about Abortion and Sexual and Reproductive Health to Belief about Abortion Restrictions: Findings from an Online Survey" (with Alison Norris, Megan L. Kavanuagh, and Lisa Littman). Women's Health Issues 23, no. 4 (2013): 239-247.

Examines individuals' knowledge about abortion in the context of their knowledge about other sexual and reproductive health (SRH) issues, including contraception, abortion, pregnancy, and birth.

"Prevalence of Sexually Transmitted Infections among Tanzanian Migrants: a Cross-Sectional Study " (with Yiska Loewenberg-Weisband , Melissa Wiles, and Jeannette R. Ickovics ). International Journal of STD & AIDS 28, no. 10 (2017): 991-1000.

Assesses migrant characteristics and tests associations between migrant status and prevalent STIs among Tanzanian agricultural plantation residents. Finds that migrant men experience significantly elevated risk for prevalent STIs, above and beyond socio-demographic and behavioral risk factors, as compared to their non-migrant peers; women in this Tanzanian agricultural plantation community overall had higher prevalence of some STIs than men, migrant women had similar STI risk as non-migrant women; and migration for work, an economic strategy for millions, also creates vulnerabilities, so workplace-based STI prevention programs and connecting migrants to community resources are essential.

"Abortion Experiences among Zanzibari Women: a Chain-Referral Sampling Study " (with Bryna J. Harrington , Daniel Grossman , Maryam Hemed, and Michelle J. Hindin). Reproductive Health 13, no. 23 (2016).

Finds that even in settings where abortion is illegal, some women experience illegal abortions without adverse health consequences, what we might call ‘safer’ unsafe abortions. These kinds of abortion experiences can be missed in studies about abortion conducted among women seeking PAC in hospitals.

"Abortion Stigma: A Reconceptualization of Constituents, Causes, and Consequences" (with Alison Norris, Julia Steinberg, Megan Kavanaugh, Silvia De Zordo, and Davida Becker). Women's Health Issues 21, no. 3 (2011): 49-54.

Discusses five reasons why abortion is stigmatized. Examines causes and consequences of abortion stigma to illustrate how it is manifest for affected groups.

"Intravaginal Practices and Prevalence of Sexual and Reproductive Tract Infections among Women in Rural Malawi" (with Allahna Esber, Nisha Rao, Patricia Carr-Reese, Jonathan Kandodo, Patrick Nampandeni, Enock Jumbe, and Abigail Norris Turner). Journal of the American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association 34, no. 12 (2016): 750-755.

Examines associations between IVP and HPV, BV, and HSV-2 among 200 women in rural Malawi participating in a clinic-based study on sexual and reproductive tract infections.  Ultimately, did not detect associations between IVP type or frequency and any of the 3 infections. However, the high prevalence and frequency of IVP may have limited their ability to detect significant associations.

"Female Condoms: New Choices, Old Questions" (with Maria F. Gallo and Abigail Norris Turner). The Lancet 1, no. 3 (2013): 119-120.

Establishes that three types of female condom have similarly low rates of self-reported problems as the FC2, the only female condom approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and examines questions of barriers to public access to and regulation of female condoms.

"Does State-Level Context Matter for Individuals' Knowledge about Abortion, Legality, and Health? Challenging the 'Red States v. Blue States' Hypothesis" (with Alison Norris, Caitlin Gerdts, Lisa Littman, and Megan Kavanaugh). Culture, Health, and Sexuality 17, no. 6 (2015).

Examines individuals’ knowledge about abortion in relation to political context of their current state of residence, assess health-related and legality abortion knowledge, to find that state-level conservatism does not modify the existing relationships between individual predictors and each of the two types of abortion knowledge. Disputes the ‘red states’ versus ‘blue states’ hypothesis, and finds that knowledge about abortion’s health effects in the USA is low.

"Crippling Violence: Conflict and Incident Polio in Afghanistan " (with Kevin Hachey, Andrew Curtis, and Margaret Bordeaux). Public Library of Science One (2016).

Examines geographic relationship between violence and polio incidence between 2004 and 2009. Demonstrates a geographic relationship between IED violence and incident polio. Shows that districts that have high-risk for polio have highly statistically significantly greater mean numbers of IEDs than non polio high-risk districts