Jessica G. Burke, PhD, MHS Graduate School of Public Health

Research Areas of Interest and Highlights

Dr. Burke’s research is concentrated on the health of women and children, specifically among vulnerable and disadvantaged populations; her research adopts an ecological perspective in addressing health promotion. Her current research employs ethnographic and social epidemiologic techniques to explore the multiple levels of influencing factors associated with maternal and child health problems such as intimate partner violence, youth violence, low birth weight and preterm delivery. She is also interested in the design, implementation, and evaluation of comprehensive interventions to address these and other important women's health problems such as HIV/AIDS. She employs a theory-driven, participant-oriented approach to exploring the mechanisms by which cultural and contextual factors influence the health status of women and children, and she uses an integration of innovative qualitative and quantitative methodologies in her current research.

Education and Background

  • PhD, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • MHS, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, International Health
  • BA, New York University, Cultural Anthropology

She joined the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health in 2005 and is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences.  Dr. Burke successfully employs a transdisciplinary approach to her work and has nurtured long term partnerships with local and national academic and community colleagues.  The ultimate goal of Dr. Burke’s scholarship is to move the field of public health social science forward in order to implement effective programs that fundamentally improve population health and reduce health disparities.  Dr. Burke has three overarching aims that shape her scholarship: 1) to utilize innovative quantitative and qualitative methods to uncover the impact of contextual influences on health; 2) to engage communities in the process of research and its translation; 3) to develop tailored interventions to address contextual influences.


Dr. Burke is a member of the American Public Health Association and the International Society for Urban Health. She also serves as a reviewer for several journals including the following: American Journal of Health Behavior, Journal of Urban Health, Journal of General Internal Medicine, and the American Journal of Epidemiology.