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Kristina Talbert-Slagle, PhD

Assistant Professor; Affiliated Faculty, Yale Institute for Global Health; Associate Director of Faculty Mentorship and Academic Programs, Yale Institute for Global Health

Contact Information

Kristina Talbert-Slagle, PhD

Research Summary

The questions and ideas that drive my scholarly work emerge from our team's collaborative efforts to strengthen Liberia's health workforce. Much of my current writing and more recent publications explore needs and challenges in Liberia through the perspectives of current and future faculty and health professionals. My partners, colleagues, and I have developed different scholarly approaches to explore what academic programs and administrative systems would be most effective to build long-term, permanent improvements at the University of Liberia College of Health Sciences, and in Liberia's workforce. We utilize research to try to ensure that we develop informed, thoughtful, tailored programs to meet the goals and vision of our Liberian partners.

Specialized Terms: global health; complex systems; health systems strengthening; infectious disease; HIV/AIDS; public-private partnerships

Extensive Research Description

My scholarly work is interdisciplinary, and reflects my own path through genetics, virology, immunology, global health, and health systems strengthening. Throughout my doctoral training in basic biological sciences (especially genetics and virology) with my postdoctoral training in mathematical modeling, health policy, and global health. I have focused examining the interplay between social systems and infectious disease. My research trajectory began in the basic sciences, with dissertation research examining how a tiny, unique protein could independently alter the growth behavior of certain cells. As a postdoctoral fellow, I analyzed parallels between infection dynamics among a population of cells inside the body and in a population of people in the world. My ongoing interest in the parallels and interdependencies of molecular and social systems eventually became an interest in the interplay between health systems and the emergence of infectious diseases.

Because I worked with an outstanding global health team at Yale, I had the opportunity to participate in Liberia's efforts to rebuild its health workforce post-Ebola, which brought together my understanding of virology and basic sciences with my interest in how social systems, including health systems, impact health and disease.

Since 2015, I have worked closely with Dr. Bernice Dahn, former Minister of Health of Liberia and current Vice President for Health Sciences at the University of Liberia, and many other academic and health leaders in Liberia, to help rebuild Liberia's health workforce post-Ebola. Our team's efforts have included a longstanding focus on understanding needs, challenges, and priorities in Liberia, and developing strategies to meet those priorities through capacity-building activities such as educational programs, curriculum review, professional development mentorship, and strengthening institutional systems.

My main focus in all of my work is to follow the lead of our partners in Liberia, and to invert the power relationships so often seen in traditional global health partnerships. We thus try to develop our research projects and questions in collaboration with our whole team, with a focus on learning how best to meet the needs of Liberia's health workforce, how best to address challenges in resource-constrained settings, and how to maintain a partnership that is meaningfully aware of power and resource differentials and that remains focused on collaborative problem-solving and fulfilling the goals of partners in Liberia.


Research Interests

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome; Health Services Research; Systems Theory; Global Health; Disease Transmission, Infectious; Public-Private Sector Partnerships

Public Health Interests

Disease Transmission; Global Health; HIV/AIDS; Infectious Diseases; Health Systems Strengthening

Selected Publications