Jen Balkus


I am queer and I am an infectious disease epidemiologist.//


I have wanted to work in public health for as long as I can remember and fell in love with epidemiology, without fully knowing what it was, after my very first class in graduate school. Now, my research focuses on questions that interface between the vaginal microbiome and HIV/STI prevention, as well as other important topics in reproductive health and infectious disease. In addition, I teach both graduate and undergraduate courses in epidemiology and public health.

Through my work I have had the opportunity to collaborate with amazing people from all of over the US and the world, but struggled at times as the lone queer epidemiologist in the room. I wanted to share my story because visibility is everything. The contributions and perspectives of LGBTQAI+ individuals to epidemiology are essential to improving public health.