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