Alison Norris, MD, PhD

Associate Professor; Joint Appointment, College of Medicine/Infectious Diseases
Interim Co-Chair

Alison Norris, MD, PhD


1841 Neil Ave.
326 Cunz Hall
Columbus, OH, 43210


norris [dot] 570atosu [dot] edu



As an epidemiologist and a medical doctor, I study sexual and reproductive health with a goal of preventing sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and improving reproductive outcomes for people. I have a particular interest understanding how context (e.g., endemic disease, social norms, demographic factors, and cultural and institutional structures) influences health and disease. Methodologically, I focus on using innovative methods to obtain high quality data about sensitive and stigmatized topics.

I joined the faculty at The Ohio State University in September 2011 with appointments in the Division of Epidemiology, College of Public Health and the Division of Infectious Diseases, College of Medicine. As a faculty member, my goal is to develop, conduct, and evaluate epidemiologic and social science research that will lead to improvements in sexual and reproductive health.

To understand how the reproductive health-related laws and policies impact the health and well being of Ohioans and people in nearby states, I co-lead a collaborative research program called OPEN (Ohio Policy Evaluation Network). With scholars from Ohio State University, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Children's Hospital, and Case Western Reserve University, we produce evidence for health care providers and community stakeholders to serve their communities, and for lawmakers to make decisions about health policies that will improve the public's health.

Much of my research has been conducted in eastern and southern Africa, and I have had the opportunity to work with fantastic research collaborators. Partnering with an interdisciplinary team of scientists and health practitioners at OSU and in Malawi, I initiated a program of research in Malawi called Umoyo wa Thanzi (UTHA, Health for Life). Overall, the project aims to understand how women’s and men’s decision making impacts 1) fertility, family planning, pregnancy, and childbirth; and 2) HIV and STI testing and treatment. With funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and multiple OSU grants, we have carried out five waves of a longitudinal study in a cluster-randomized sample of more than 1,000 reproductive aged women and their partners. With a Gates Grand Challenges Explorations Grant, we assesed barriers and facilitators to contraceptive use among UTHA cohort participants. This research partnership and community cohort have served as an ideal platform for investigating complex sexual and reproductive health research questions.

As a post-doctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, I studied contraceptive use and the consequences of unwanted pregnancy in Zanzibar, Tanzania. As an MD/PhD student at Yale, I conducted a multi-year, multi-disciplinary study of sexual behavior and STIs among plantation residents near Moshi, Tanzania.


Click here to read in Ohio State Public Health about improving reproductive and sexual health.


Faculty member, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, OSU
Member, Institute for Population Research, OSU
Member, Insititue of Infectious Diseases, OSU
Member, Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, OSU

sexual and reproductive health with a goal of preventing sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and improving reproductive outcomes for women and men

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2008-2011
M.D., Yale University School of Medicine, 2008
Ph.D., Yale University School of Epidemiology and Public Health, 2006
B.A., Department of Biology, Yale University, 1994

Turner AN, Klein D, Norris AH, Phillips G, Root E, Wakefield J,Li Z, Lemeshow S, Spahnie M, Luff A, Chu Y, Francis MK, Gallo M, Lindstrom M, Chakraborty P, Para M, Lozanski G, Miller W, Clark S. Prevalence of current and past COVID-19 in Ohio adults. Annals of Epidemiology. 2021. DOI:10.1016/j.annepidem.2021.11.009

Heuerman AC, Bessett D, Antommaria AM, Tolusso L, Smith N, Norris AH, McGowan ML. Experiences of prenatal genetic counselors with abortion regulations in Ohio.  Journal of Genetic Counseling. 2021. PMID:34755409 DOI:10.1002/jgc4.1531

Kim E, Singh S, Bommaraju A, Norris AH, Bessett D. “We have to respect that option”: The Abortion Aversion Complex in Safety-Net Healthcare Organizations.  Social Science & Medicine. 2021. PMID:34757239 DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2021.114468

Smith MH, Turner AN, Chakraborty P, Hood RB, Bessett D, Gallo MF, Norris AH. Opinions about abortion among reproductive-age women in Ohio. Sexuality Research and Social Policy. 2021 [accepted]

Gallo MF, Casterline JB, Chakraborty P, Norris AH, Bessett D, Turner AN. Passage of abortion ban and women’s accurate understanding of abortion legality. American Journal of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. 2021. 225(1):63.e1-63.e8. DOI:10.1016/j.ajog.2021.02.009

McGowan ML, Norris AH, Bessett D. Care Churn — Why Keeping Clinic Doors Open Isn’t Enough to Ensure Access to Abortion. New England Journal of Medicine. 2020. 383(6):508-510. DOI:10.1056/NEJMp2013466

Bornstein M, Huber-Krum S, Kaloga M, Norris AH. Messages around contraceptive use and implications in rural Malawi. Culture, Health & Sexuality. 2020. 23(8):1126-1141. DOI:10.1080/13691058.2020.1764625

Norris AH, Chakraborty P, Lang K, Hood R, Hayford S, Keder Lisa, Bessett D, Broscoe M, Norwood C, McGowan M. Abortion Access in Ohio’s Changing Legislative Context. American Journal of Public Health. 2020. 110(8):1228-1234 PMID: 32437269.  DOI:10.2105/AJPH.2020.305706

Bornstein M, Gipson JD, Failing G, Banda V, Norris AH. Individual and community-level impact of infertility-related stigma in Malawi. Social Science & Medicine. 2020; 251:112910. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2020.112910  

Hood RB, Turner AN, Huber-Krum S, Lancaster K, Mwapasa V, Poindexter T, Nampandeni P, Esber A, Norris AH. For Human Papillomavirus Self-Sampling, Stated Willingness Does Not Correspond With Subsequent Uptake by Rural Malawian Women. Sexually Transmitted Diseases. 2020. 47(4):275-279. PMID: 32168286 DOI:10.1097/olq.0000000000001119

Chakraborty P, Norris AH, Huber-Krum S, Garver S, Hood R, Banda V, Esber A, Carr Reese P, Krysiak R, Norris Turner A. An Assessment of Risk Factors for HSV-2 Infection in Malawian Women and Men Using Two Classifications for the HerpeSelect 2 Test. Sexually Transmitted Diseases. 2020. 47(3):192-196. PMID: 31876866. DOI:10.1097/OLQ.0000000000001121

Harrington BJ,TurnerAN, Chemey E, EsberA, KwiekJJ, Norris AH. Who has yet to test? A risk score for predicting never having tested for HIV among women and men in rural Malawi. Sexually Transmitted Diseases. 2019

Norris AH, Rao N,Huber-KrumS, Garver S, Chemey E, Turner AN. Scarcity mindset in reproductive health decision making: A qualitative study from rural Malawi. Culture, Health & Sexuality. 2018

Norris AH, Pritt N, Berlan E. Can pediatricians provide long acting reversible contraception? Journal of Pediatric & Adolescent Gynecology. 2018

Coast E, Norris AH, Moore A, Freeman E.Trajectories of women's abortion-related care: a conceptual framework. Social Science & Medicine. 2018

Esber A, Norris AH, Jumbe E, Kandodo J, Nampandeni P, Reese PC, Turner AN. Feasibility, validity and acceptability of self-collected samples for human papillomavirus (HPV) testing in rural Malawi. Malawi Medical Journal. 2018

Loewenberg Weisband Y*, Klebanoff M, Gallo M, Shoben A, Norris AH. Birth outcomes of women using a midwife versus physician for prenatal care. Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health. 2018

Rao N, Esber A, Turner AN, Mowpia G, Banda J, Norris AH. Infertility and self-rated health among Malawian women. Women and Health. 2017

Thomas R, Norris A, Gallo M. Anti-legal attitude toward abortion among abortion patients in the U.S. Contraception.2017

Alkhalaileh D, Hayford SR, Norris AH, Gallo MF. Prevalence and attitudes on female genital mutilation/cutting in Egypt since criminalisation 2008. Culture, Health & Sexuality. 2017

Huber S, Esber A, Garver S, Banda V, Norris A.The Relationship Between Ambivalent and Indifferent Pregnancy Desires and Contraceptive Use Among Malawian Women. International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. 2017

Norris AH, Decker M, Loewenberg Weisband J, Hindin M. Reciprocal physical intimate partner violence is associated with prevalent STI/HIV among male Tanzanian migrant workers: a cross-sectional study. Sexually Transmitted Infections. 2017

Norris AH, Loewenberg Weisband J, Wiles M, Ickovics J. Prevalence of sexually transmitted infections among Tanzanian migrants: a cross-sectional study. International Journal of STD and AIDS. 2017

Rao N, Esber A, Turner A,, Chilewani J, Banda, V, Norris A. Who decides? Joint decision making leads to better obstetric choices. International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics. 2016

Norris A, Harrington B, Hemed M, Grossman D, Hindin M. Causes and consequences of induced abortion among a community-based snowball sample of Zanzibari women. Reproductive Health. 2016

Norris A, Hachey K, Curtis A, Bourdeaux M. Crippling violence: correlations of violence and polio incidence in Afghanistan. Plos ONE. 2016

Bessett D, Gerdts C, Littman L, Kavanaugh M, Norris A. Does State-Level Context Matter for Individual’s Knowledge about Abortion, Legality, and Health? Challenging the “Red States v. Blue States” Hypothesis. Culture, Health and Sexuality. 2015

Esber A, Foraker R, Hemed M, Norris A. Partner approval and intention to use contraception among women presenting for post-abortion care at Mnazi Mmoja Hospital, Zanzibar. Contraception. 2014

Gallo M, Norris A, Turner AN. Female condoms: New choices, old questions. Commentary in The Lancet Global Health. 2013

Kavanaugh M, Bessett D, Norris A, Littman L. Connecting knowledge about abortion and sexual and reproductive health to belief about abortion restrictions: findings from an online survey. Women’s Health Issues. 2013

Norris Turner A, Paul P, and Norris A. Limited benefit of repeating a sensitive question in a cross-sectional sexual health study. BMC Medical Research Methodology. 2013

Norris A and Worby E. The sexual economy of sugar: AIDS and privatization on a Tanzanian plantation, American Ethnologist. 2012

Norris A, Bessett D, Steinberg J, Kavanaugh M, DeZordo S, and Becker D. Abortion Stigma: A Reconceptualization of Constituents, Causes, and Consequences. Women’s Health Issues. 2011

Norris A, Kitali A, and Worby E. Alcohol and transactional sex: How risky is the mix? Social Science and Medicine. 2009