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Sarah F. Kessler, PhD, MPH

Sarah Kessler portrait
Associate Professor, Family Medicine and Community Health

Professional Background

Dr. Kessler completed her doctoral training in International Public Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her research combines interests in reproductive health and HIV to improve safer childbearing for people living with HIV and optimize maternal and pediatric HIV prevention and treatment services.

Education and Training
  • BA, Psychology, Loyola Univ. in New Orleans
  • MPH, Reproductive Health, Univ. of California-Los Angele
  • PhD, International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
  • Post Doctoral Fellowship, Psychology, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, MO
  • Post Doctoral Fellowship, Family Medicine, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas



Dr. Kessler’s active studies focus on developing, evaluating, and adapting mHealth interventions like the HIV Infant Tracking System (HITSystem) to improve early infant diagnosis (EID) of HIV, and prevent perinatal HIV transmission among pregnant women in Kenya. Lessons from these efforts have informed web-based tracking systems to support cervical cancer screening and covid-19 testing in low resource settings. Dr. Kessler is collaborating with Oak Therapeutics to develop and customize alternative drug delivery strategies to optimize pediatric antiretroviral therapy in settings with limited resources and persistent HIV stigma. Her domestic projects are focused on reaching underserved populations in Kansas with covid-19 testing and vaccination.

Current Research and Grants
  • Evaluating the HITSystem to Improve PMTCT Retention and Maternal Viral Suppression in Kenya, NIH, PI
  • COVID-19 Testing and Linkage to Care with African American Churches, University of Missouri-Kansas City
  • RADx-UP: Improving the Response of Local Urban and Rural Communities to Disparities in Covid-19 Testing, NIH