Deborah Baron, MPH, MIA

Predoctoral Fellow
Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA)
Doctoral Student
Health Behavior
Department of Health Behavior
331 Rosenau Hall
Chapel Hill, NC 27599


Deborah Baron is a trained global public health professional and activist-scholar with over 20 years’ experience in the HIV and gender empowerment fields. Deborah was based in Johannesburg, South Africa for over 11 years, and has worked extensively across Southern and Eastern Africa. Working at the intersection of sexual and reproductive health, combination HIV prevention and resilience, Deborah focuses on the role that biomedical, behavioral, and structural interventions can play in addressing gender inequities in women's health outcomes. Deborah’s dissertation research uses a mixed-methods participatory design to explore how resilience operates across the social-ecological levels to provide protective benefits and improve the sexual and reproductive health among young women who have experienced adverse childhood experiences.

Representative Courses

HBEH 520: Introduction to Global Health

HBEH 730: Theoretical Foundations of Behavioral and Social Science (Teaching Assistant)

HBEH 753: Qualitative Research Methods (Teaching Assistant)

Research Activities

2022-  Qualitative Research Consultant: Implementation science research to improve PrEP services for people at risk for HIV Funder: NIMH K24.

2021-  Current Principal Investigator: A Mixed-Methods Study of Socio-ecological Resilience Among Young ACE-exposed Women in South Africa. Funder: NIMH F31.

Service Activities

2022, Member, Tarheel Teaching and Learning Collaborative, UNC-Chapel Hill

2021-current, Member, Course Development Committee for new Community and Global Health Bachelor in Science Public Health (BSPH) degree

2021-current, Member, Gillings Inclusive Excellence Council and Research Subcommittee

2018-2020, Member and Faculty Liaison, Health Behavior Doctoral Student Advisory Committee

2019, Member, Inclusive Excellence Action Team: Curriculum

Practice Activities

Member, Graduate Certificate in Participatory Research (GCPR) interdisciplinary certificate program, UNC-Chapel Hill

Key Publications

Chapter 7: Addressing Structural Drivers of HIV Among Youth in Eastern and Southern Africa. Gafos M., Beattie T., Stoebenau K., Baron D., Weiner R., Wamoyi J., Letsela L., Hargreaves J., Mshana G., Kapiga S., Stangl A., Remme M., Heise L. and Seeley, J. (2020). Preventing HIV Among Young People in Southern and Eastern Africa.

“Adolescent Dating Violence Prevention Programs: A Global Systematic Review of Evaluation Studies”. Reyes HLM, Graham L, Chen M, Baron D, Gibbs A, Groves A, Kajula L, Bowler S, & Maman, S. (2020). Lancet Child and Adolescent Health.

’You talk about problems until you feel free’: South African adolescent girls’ and young women’s narratives on the value of HIV prevention peer support clubs”. Baron D, Scorgie F, Ramskin L, Khoza N, Schutzman J, Stangl A, Harvey S, Delany-Moretlwe S, & the EMPOWER study team (2020). BMC Public Health 20.

“Collateral benefits: how the practical application of Good Participatory Practice can strengthen HIV research in sub-Saharan Africa.”. Baron D, Essien T, Pato S, Magongo M, Mbandazayo N, Scorgie F, Rees H, Delany-Moretlwe S.  (2018). Journal of the International AIDS Society 21.


  • MPH, Global Health, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, 2006
  • Master of International Affairs (MIA), Human Rights, Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, 2006
  • BA, Politics with minor in Literature, University of California Santa Cruz, CA, 2000