Jennifer S. Hirsch

Professor and Deputy Chair for Doctoral Studies

Co-Director, Columbia Population Research Center

Steering Committee Member, Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality


Jennifer S. Hirsch is Professor and Deputy Chair for Doctoral Studies in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences and co-Director of the Columbia Population Research Center. A medical anthropologist and a 2012 fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Hirsch’s research agenda spans five intertwined domains: the anthropology of love; gender, sexuality and migration; sexual, reproductive and HIV risk practices; social scientific research on sexual assault and undergraduate well-being, and the intersections between anthropology and public health. In addition to her many articles in leading social science and public health journals, Hirsch’s books include A Courtship After Marriage: Sexuality and Love in Mexican Transnational Families (University of California Press, 2003), which explores changing ideas and practices of love, sexuality and marriage among Mexicans in the U.S. and in Mexico, and the coauthored The Secret: Love, Marriage and HIV (Vanderbilt University Press, 2009), which drew on NIH-funded comparative ethnographic research to analyzes the social organization of extramarital sexual practices in Mexico, Nigeria, Uganda, Vietnam, and Papua-New Guinea and the implications of those practices for married women's HIV risk. Along with Dr. Claude Ann Mellins, Hirsch co-directed the Sexual Health Initiative to Foster Transformation (SHIFT), a study supported by Columbia University that examines sexual health and sexual assault among Columbia and Barnard undergraduates. She is the co-author, with sociologist Shamus Khan, of Sexual Citizens: A Landmark Study of Sex, Power, and Assault on Campus.

Dr. Hirsch has been an active contributor to the intellectual life of CPRC. She is a founding member of the Center who for many years led the Gender, Sexuality, Health and HIV Primary Research Area (now the Reproductive Health and HIV Primary Research Area), and continues to participate in its events, as well as in those of the Migration and Immigration group.

Research Interests

Health Inequities
HIV Prevention
Immigrant Health
Immigration Policy
LGBT Populations
Reproductive Justice
Sex Education
Sexual Violence