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Jessi Hanson-Defusco

Assistant Professor of Global Health Policy, University of Texas, Dallas

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About Jessi

DeFusco currently works at the University of Texas-Dallas in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences. Her research focuses on interdisciplinary policy issues related to public health, education, gender equity, child protection, and human rights. Jessi worked for nearly 20 years in international development policy and programming, primarily in West Africa and Latin America. Includes international nonprofit organizations, grant management, capacity development, and monitoring and evaluation (M&E), and multi-stakeholder engagement including with grassroots organizations and civil society.

In the News

"The New Face of Democratic Struggle," Jessi Hanson-Defusco, Opinion, Newsweek, January 26, 2023.
Guest to discuss Mercy A 3-Part Documentary on ABC News, Jessi Hanson-Defusco,


"Diminished Quality of Life Among Women Affected by Ebola" (with Alexis C. Decosimo and Megan A. Quinn). Journal of Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences 10, no. 1 (2016): 112–133.

Analyzes data collected from Liberian women afflicted by the Ebola virus disease, survivors of the virus and noninfected persons living in Ebola-affected homes. Examines factors diminishing quality of life: negative experiences, stigma, and psychosocial symptoms among females affected by the virus after the outbreak.

"Comparative Analysis of the Gendered Effects of Newly-Emergent Outbreaks on Women: Case Study of the 1918-20 Spanish Influenza, 2014/15 Ebola Pandemic, and 2019/20 COVID-19" Women's Health Research (2020).

Examines the effects of newly-emergent disease outbreaks on female populations around the world, examining the sociological ramifications that lower their quality of life. Identifies gender ramifications of historically large-scale emerging viral diseases.