Professor of Clinical Population and Family Health, Mailman School of Public Health
Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, College of Physicians and Surgeons
Past Research: Over his 20 years as a public health clinician and researcher, John Santelli has conducted research on adolescent and women’s sexual and reproductive health (SRH) including HIV/STD risk behaviors, programs to prevent STD/HIV/unintended pregnancy, school-based health centers, and clinical preventive services. Over the past three years, he has published a series of paper to understand trends in key adolescent sexual behaviors and the implications of these for trends in pregnancy and STDs. Working with colleagues at CDC and the Guttmacher Institute, he developed methods for summarizing contraceptive efficacy across multiple methods and decomposing changes in teen pregnancy into sexual activity and contraceptive use. This method was applied to the primary national datasets which track sexual and reproductive health among teens in the U.S., as well as to contrast U.S. with Western Europe teen reproductive health trends. The resulting findings were critical to informing U.S. national policy in teen pregnancy and STD prevention. With colleagues at Tulane, Santelli also conducted a series of qualitative and quantitative investigations on the meaning and measurement of unintended pregnancy. One of these papers contrasted women and partner’s intention status on multiple dimensions, which included definition of a critical role for men in shaping women’s decisions about pregnancy termination. Recent policy-related research has examined trends in sexuality education and social factors shaping these trends. Santelli’s contributions have recently been recognized by his selection to the Science Board at the American Public Health Association and Research Advisory Panel of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. He continues to serve as a member for the Editorial Board for the Journal of Adolescent Health and ACOG Committee on Adolescent Health. In 2005, he was named to the Harriet and Robert H. Heilbrunn Professorship in Population and Family Health at Columbia.
Present Research: Santelli’s current research employs a variety of methods to examine policy-related issues regarding sexuality education. He has examined state refusal of federal funding for abstinence-only education, state requirements for “medical accuracy” in the delivery of sexuality education, national trends in sexuality education, and the long-term mental and physical health impact of the timing of initiation of sexual intercourse. Such research is characterizing state-level processes that influence sexuality education policies. Santelli has continued to examine the most recent trends in adolescent sexual behaviors, including factors related to oral sex.
Future Research: Santelli plans to expand his interests in trends in adolescent sexual and reproductive health to the global stage. With Julien Teitler and Theo Sandfort, also faculty of the CPRC, he is continuing his studies comparing adolescent SRH in Europe and the U.S. With Ron Gray at Johns Hopkins University, he has submitted an R01 to examine adolescent risk for HIV in the Rakai Cohort Study in Uganda and the potentially disinhibiting impact of antiretroviral treatment and circumcision on sexual risk behaviors. He is also developing ideas for an R01 to examine adolescent developmental transitions across diverse ethnic and socioeconomic groups in NYC. This study would use qualitative methodologies to explore the impact of immigration to the U.S. on adolescent SRH.
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