Current Role at Stanford

Program Manager, Global Child Health Program


  • Family Planning and PMTCT in Africa (9/1/2011) (2011 - 2012)


    Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe

  • Gender Based Violence among Young Adolescents in the Informal Settlements of Nairobi, Kenya (2015 - 2018)


    Nairobi, Kenya

All Publications

  • Understanding ART Adherence among Adolescent Girls and Young Women in Western Kenya: A Cross-Sectional Study of Barriers and Facilitators. International journal of environmental research and public health Altamirano, J., Odero, I. A., Omollo, M., Awuonda, E., Ondeng'e, K., Kang, J. L., Behl, R., Ndivo, R., Baiocchi, M., Barsosio, H. C., Sarnquist, C. C. 2023; 20 (20)


    BACKGROUND: HIV remains a leading cause of death for adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) in sub-Saharan Africa. This population has a high incidence of HIV and other comorbidities, such as experiencing violence, and low antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence. To reach global HIV goals, data are needed on the specific adherence barriers for AGYW living with HIV, so interventions can be targeted effectively.METHODS: Cross-sectional data were collected at urban and rural health facilities in and around Kisumu County, western Kenya, from January to June 2022, from AGYW 15-24 years of age who were living with HIV. Surveys included questions on intimate partner violence, mental health issues, food security, and orphanhood. Adherence was categorized using viral load testing where available and the Center for Adherence Support Evaluation (CASE) adherence index otherwise. Logistic regression was used to assess associations between potential explanatory variables and adherence.FINDINGS: In total, 309 AGYW participated. AGYW with experiences of emotional violence (Odds Ratio [OR] = 1.94, 95% Confidence Interval [CI] = 1.03-3.66), moderate or severe depression (OR = 3.19, 95% CI = 1.47-6.94), and/or substance use (OR = 2.71, 95% CI = 1.24-5.92) had significantly higher odds of poor adherence when compared to AGYW without these respective experiences. Physical and sexual violence, food insecurity, and orphanhood were not associated with poor adherence in this cohort.INTERPRETATION: Elucidating the risk factors associated with poor adherence among AGYW living with HIV allows us to identify potential targets for future interventions to improve ART adherence and HIV care outcomes. Mental health and violence prevention interventions, including combination interventions, may prove to be promising approaches.

    View details for DOI 10.3390/ijerph20206922

    View details for PubMedID 37887660

  • Qualitative perspectives on COVID-19, interpersonal violence, and interventions to improve well-being from adolescent girls and young women in Kisumu, Kenya. Frontiers in reproductive health Reed, R. E., Omollo, M., Odero, I., Awuonda, E., Ochere, P., Ondeng'e, K., Kang, J. L., Altamirano, J., Barsosio, H. C., Sarnquist, C. 2023; 5: 1236588


    Introduction: Adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) face a high burden of gender-based violence (GBV) worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic and associated policies led to global increases in GBV, decreased access to resources, and disruptions of pathways to care. We aimed to understand the effects of COVID-19 on AGYW affected by GBV in Kisumu, Kenya, as well as to identify possible interventions to mitigate those effects.Methods: Focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted with AGYW aged 15-25 with a history of exposure to GBV. AGYW were split into age-matched groups; aged 15-19 for younger groups and 19-25 for older groups. Discussions focused on how COVID-19 affected experiences of GBV, access to care services, economic and social outcomes, and opportunities for interventions to mitigate negative impacts of COVID-19 and violence.Results: Five FGDs with 46 AGYW were completed in June-September 2021. AGYW described increases in all types of GBV, particularly sexual abuse and intimate partner violence. Early marriage and subsistence transactional sex also increased. AGYW described violence as both a cause and effect of poor economic, social and health consequences related to the pandemic. Notably, AGYW emphasized stress, lack of mental health support and increased substance use as risk factors for violence, and discussed the deleterious mental health effects of violence-particularly in the wake of disruption of mental health services. COVID-19 disrupted referrals to violence-related services, and reduced access to both medical services and psychosocial services. AGYW believed that interventions focused on improving mental health as well as economic empowerment would be the most feasible and acceptable in mitigating the negative effects of COVID-19 and related exacerbations in violence.Discussion: AGYW reported increases in almost all forms of GBV during the pandemic, with related exacerbation in mental health. Concurrently, AGYW endorsed decreased access to care services. As there is no evidence that violence and mental health challenges will quickly resolve, there is an urgent need to identify and implement interventions to mitigate these negative effects.

    View details for DOI 10.3389/frph.2023.1236588

    View details for PubMedID 38107484

  • Youth voices from an informal settlement of Nairobi, Kenya: Engaging adolescent perspectives on violence to inform prevention. Global public health Mphamba, D., Solomon, F. R., Nyairo, G., Kim, C. J., Krishnamoorthi, M., Edem, B., Amuyunzu-Nyamongo, M., Kang, J., Baiocchi, M., Sarnquist, C. C. 2022: 1-14


    We examined the experiences of violence and self-reported behavioural and community changes as a result of participation in a sexual assault prevention intervention in an informal settlement in Nairobi, Kenya. We conducted longitudinal qualitative in-depth interviews with 20 adolescent girls and 11 adolescent boys at baseline, 12, and 24 months. Analysis was thematic with two investigators coding and reaching consensus about the themes. Participants' ages ranged from 10 to 13 at baseline; girls' mean age was 11.9, boys' mean age was 11.6. Participants reported experiencing high levels of violence at all stages of the study. Most reported feeling more empowered to protect themselves and others from sexual assault because of the intervention. While participants had mixed responses about change in sexual assault incidence, most perceived an improvement in inter-gender relationships after the intervention. Participants at midline and endline cited acquaintances and friends as potential perpetrators of sexual violence more often than at baseline and were more open to reporting violent incidents. The very young adolescents in this setting perceived that this sexual assault prevention intervention led to improvements in gender relations, adolescent girls' empowerment and, recognition of harmful rape myths.Trial registration: identifier: NCT02771132.

    View details for DOI 10.1080/17441692.2022.2076895

    View details for PubMedID 35579915

  • Expression of Concern to: A protocol for a cluster-randomized controlled trial testing an empowerment intervention to prevent sexual assault in upper primary school adolescents in the informal settlements of Nairobi, Kenya. BMC public health Sarnquist, C. n., Kang, J. L., Amuyunzu-Nyamongo, M. n., Oguda, G. n., Otieno, D. n., Mboya, B. n., Omondi, N. n., Kipkirui, D. n., Baiocchi, M. n. 2021; 21 (1): 224

    View details for DOI 10.1186/s12889-021-10263-4

    View details for PubMedID 33504325

  • A protocol for a cluster-randomized controlled trial testing an empowerment intervention to prevent sexual assault in upper primary school adolescents in the informal settlements of Nairobi, Kenya. BMC public health Sarnquist, C. n., Kang, J. L., Amuyunzu-Nyamongo, M. n., Oguda, G. n., Otieno, D. n., Mboya, B. n., Omondi, N. n., Kipkirui, D. n., Baiocchi, M. n. 2019; 19 (1): 834


    Sexual violence against adolescents is prevalent worldwide and results in significant physical and mental injuries as well as loss of economic and personal potential. Urban informal settlements such as those around Nairobi, Kenya have been shown to have especially high incidences of violence. Research has shown that empowerment interventions for female adolescents can reduce sexual assault. However, these interventions have had limited testing in urban informal settlements, with young adolescents, or in coordination with complementary programs for male adolescents.This study was a two-arm, parallel, cluster-randomized trial testing a combination of a previously-tested girls' intervention, IMPower, and a newly revised boys' intervention, Source of Strength. Clusters were defined as schools within the informal settlements; participants were adolescent girls and boys in class 6, generally between the ages of 10-14 at baseline. Data collection began in January 2016 and continued through December 2018. The primary outcome was the change in incidence of self-reported sexual assault among girls from baseline, compared to a life skills standard of care intervention. Secondary outcomes included experiences of physical and emotional violence, as well as determining the effects of the intervention on self-efficacy, self-esteem, and gender attitudes and beliefs, and how those effects led to changes in experience of sexual assault. For the primary outcome and several of the secondary outcomes, we used an intention to treat estimand.This was the first randomized controlled trial with longitudinal follow-up of an empowerment self-defense approach to violence prevention for adolescents in informal settlements. The large size and rigorous design supported analysis to understand multiple subgroup experiences in the hypothesized reduction in sexual assault. The study was also unique in its focus on young (10-14 years of age) adolescents and in engaging both boys and girls in separate but coordinated curriculums. The focus on a highly vulnerable and understudied population will make it a significant contribution to the literature on violence prevention.Clinical # NCT02771132 . Version 3.1 registered May 2017, first participant enrolled January 2017. Retrospectively registered.

    View details for DOI 10.1186/s12889-019-7154-x

    View details for PubMedID 31248392

  • Integrating family planning and prevention of mother to child HIV transmission in Zimbabwe. Contraception Sarnquist, C. C., Moyo, P., Stranix-Chibanda, L., Chipato, T., Kang, J. L., Maldonado, Y. A. 2014; 89 (3): 209-214


    The objective was to integrate enhanced family planning (FP) and prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission services in order to help HIV-positive Zimbabwean women achieve their desired family size and spacing as well as to maximize maternal and child health.HIV-positive pregnant women were enrolled into a standard-of-care (SOC, n=33) or intervention (n=65) cohort, based on study entry date, and followed for 3 months postpartum. The intervention cohort received education sessions aimed at increasing FP use and negotiation power. Both groups received care from nurses with enhanced FP training. Outcomes included FP use, FP knowledge and HIV disclosure, and were assessed with Fisher's Exact Tests, binomial tests and t tests.The intervention cohort reported increased control over condom use (p=.002), increased knowledge about IUDs (p=.002), increased relationship power (p=.01) and increased likelihood of disclosing their HIV status to a partner (p=.04) and having that partner disclose to them (p=.04) when compared to the SOC cohort. Long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) use in both groups increased from ~2% at baseline to >80% at 3 months postpartum (p<.001).FP and sexual negotiation skills and knowledge, as well as HIV disclosure, increased significantly in the intervention cohort. LARC uptake increased significantly in both the intervention and SOC cohorts, likely because both groups received care from nurses with enhanced FP training. Successful service integration models are needed to maximize health outcomes in resource-constrained environments; this intervention is such a model that should be replicable in other settings in sub-Saharan Africa and beyond.This study provides a rigorously evaluated intervention to integrate FP education into ante- and postnatal care for HIV-positive women and also to train providers on FP. Results suggest that this intervention had significant effects on contraception use and communication with sexual partners. This intervention should be adaptable to other areas.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.contraception.2013.11.003

    View details for PubMedID 24332254