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Kim Blankenship Distinguished Professor Sociology

PhD, Sociology, Duke University
MA, Sociology, Duke University
BA, Sociology, College of William and Mary

Kim M. Blankenship, PhD, is Distinguished Professor in the Department of Sociology, Founding Director of the Center on Health, Risk and Society (housed in the department of sociology), Associate Dean of Research in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Co-Director of the Developmental Core of the District of Columbia Center for AIDS Research (DC CFAR). She previously served on the faculty of Sociology at Duke University and at the Duke Global Health Institute (2008-2010) and on the faculty at Yale University, where she was also Associate Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (1998-2008). Research and publications focus on the social determination of health inequities and structural interventions to address them. She has received funding from NIDA, NIMH, CDC, Russell Sage Foundation (RSF) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). Most recently she was PI on an NIMH funded project that focuses on the intersecting impacts of mass incarceration, housing vulnerability, and housing policies in the US -- all contemporary systems promoting race, class and gender inequality -- as they shape HIV related sexual practices; and Co-PI (with Danya Keene) on a study funded by Russell Sage Foundation examining the health consequences associated with the provision of housing in low income race segregated neighborhoods. She is also a Co-investigator on an NIDDK study (PI Danya Keene) of the impacts of rental assistance on biological and behavioral indicators of diabetes self-management and control, She leads the Inequality, Social Justice and Health Lab at AU (
See Also
Department of Sociology
Center on Health, Risk and Society
Inequality, Social Justice, and Health Lab
For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.

Partnerships & Affiliations

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Research Interests

Blankenship's research interests include: race, class, gender and health inequities; social determination of health and structural interventions, with a focus on HIV/AIDS; community mobilization as a strategy for health promotion; drug policy, housing policy, mass incarceration and health inequties (with a focus on HIV/AIDS).

Selected Publications

  • Groves AK, Smith P, Gebrekristos LT, Rosenberg A, Keene DE, Blankenship KM. 2022. Eviction, Intimate Partner Violence and HIV: Expanding Concepts and Assessing the Pathways through which Sexual Partnership Dynamics Impact Health.” Social Science and Medicine 305; July 2022
  • Blankenship KM, Rosenberg AP, Keene DE, Dawson AJ,* Groves AK,* Schlesinger P. 2021. “Social Determination of HIV: Women’s Relationship Work in the Context of Mass Incarceration and Housing Vulnerability.” AIDS and Behavior.25(Suppl 2):190-201. Open Access. PMCID: PMC8484381
  • Barrington C, Rosenberg AP, Kerrigan D, Blankenship KM. 2021. “Collecting and Analyzing Longitudinal Qualitative Data to Understand the Relationships between Social Determinants and HIV Outcomes.” AIDS and Behavior. 25(Suppl 2):203-213. Open Access. PMCID:PMC8473579
  • Groves AK, Niccolai LM, Keene DE, Rosenberg A, Schlesinger P, Blankenship KM. 2021. “Housing Instability and HIV Risk: Expanding our Understanding of the Impact of Eviction and Other Landlord-Related Forced Moves.” AIDS and Behavior, Jan 2. . Online ahead of print.
  • Young G, Danner M, Fort L, Blankenship KM. 2021. “Community Mobilization Challenging Gender Power Imbalances: Women Sex Workers' Capacity to Engage In Health-Enhancing Practices in Southern India” AIDS and Behavior, 29 Sep 2021,DOI: 10.1007/s10461-021-03481-9 PMID: 34590177 
  • Purtle J, Tekin E, Gebrekristos LT, Niccolai L, Blankenship KM. 2021. “Associations Between Local Public Housing Authority Policies Related to Criminal Justice System Involvement and Sexually Transmitted Infection Rates.” Health & Justice. 32. Open Access.
  • Rosenberg AP, Keene DE, Schlesinger P, Groves AK, Blankenship KM. 2021. “’I don’t know what home feels like anymore’: Residential Spaces and the Absence of Ontological Security for People Returning from Incarceration.” Social Science & Medicine, 272, Available online 30 January 2021
  • Keene DE, Whittaker S, Rosenberg A, Niccolai LM, Schlesinger P, Blankenship KM. 2021 “The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease”: Rental Assistance Applicants’ Quests for a Rationed and Scarce Resource. Social Problems, Online first
  • Shapiro R, Blankenship K, Rosenberg A, Keene D. 2021. “The Effects of Rental Assistance on Housing Stability, Quality, Autonomy and Affordability.” Housing Policy Debate, Jan 8. Online ahead of print.
  • Denary W, Fenelon A, Schlesinger P, Purtle J, Blankenship KM, Keene DE. 2021. “Does Rental Assistance Improve Mental Health? Insight from a Longitudinal Cohort Study.” Social Science and Medicine, 282, Published online August 2021
  • Doshi RK, Bowleg L, Blankenship KM. 2020. “Tying Structural Racism to HIV Viral Suppression.” Clinical Infectious Diseases,
  • Keene DE, Niccolai L, Rosenberg A, Schlesinger P, Blankenship KM. 2020. “Rental Assistance and Adult Self-Rated Health.” Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 31(1):325-339.
  • Purtle JP, Gebrekristos L, Keene DE, Schlesinger P, Niccolai LM, Blankenship KM. 2020. “Quantifying the Restrictiveness of Local Housing Authority Policies Towards People with Criminal Justice Histories: United States, 2009-2018” American Journal of Public Health, 110(S1): S137-S144.
  • Rosenberg A, Keene DE, Schlesinger P, Groves AK, Blankenship KM. 2020. “COVID-19 and Hidden Housing Vulnerabilities: Implications for Health Equity, New Haven, Connecticut. AIDS and Behavior, online first: DOI 10.1007/s10461-020-02921-2
  • Tran E, Blankenship KM, Whittaker S, Rosenberg A, Schlesinger P, Kershaw T, Keene DE. 2020. “My Neighborhood Has a Good Reputation: Associations Between Spatial Stigma and Health.” Health and Place, 64
  • Niccolai LM, Blankenship KM, Keene DE. 2019. “Eviction from Renter-Occupied Households and Rates of Sexually Transmitted Infections: A County-Level Ecological Analysis.” Sexually Transmitted Infections, 46(1): 63-68.
  • Smoyer AB, Madera J, Blankenship KM. 2019 “Older Adults’ Lived Experience of Incarceration.” Journal of Offender Rehabilitation. Online first, April 2, 2019,
  • Rosenberg A, Heimer R, Keene DE, Groves AK, Blankenship KM. 2019. “Drug Treatment Accessed Through the Criminal Justice System: Participants' Perspectives and Uses.” Journal of Urban Health, 96(3):390-399
  • Blankenship KM, del Rio Gonzalez AM, Keene D, Groves AK, Rosenberg AP. 2018.  “Mass Incarceration, Race Inequality, and Health: Expanding Concepts and Impacts.” Social Science and Medicine, 215:45-52.
  • Keene D, Rosenberg AP, Schlesinger P, Guo M, Blankenship KM. 2018. “Navigating Limited and Uncertain Access to Subsidized Housing After Prison.” Housing Policy Debate 28(2): 199-214. Published online: 31 Jul 2017.
  • Keene DE, Smoyer AB, Blankenship KM. 2018. “Stigma, Identity, and Housing after Prison.” Sociological Review, 66(4):799-815.
  • Young G, Danner MJE, Fort L, Blankenship KM.  2018. “Gender and Sexual Practice in Structural Context: Condom Use among Women Doing Sex Work in Southern India.” Gender & Society, 32(6):860-888.
  • Groves AK, Zhan W, del Rio Gonzalez AM, Rosenberg AP, Blankenship KM. 2017.  “Dual Incarceration and Condom use in Committed Relationships.” AIDS and Behavior 21(12): 3549-3556. doi:10.1007/s10461-017-1720-y
  • Rosenberg A, Groves AK, Blankenship KM. 2017. “Comparing Black and White Drug Offenders: Implications for Racial Disparities in Criminal Justice and Reentry Policy and Programming.” Journal of Drug Issues 47(1):132-142.
  • Reed E, Erausquin JT, Groves AK, Salizar M, Biradavolu M, Blankenship KM. 2016. “Client-perpetrated and Husband-perpetrated Violence among Female Sex Workers in Andhra Pradesh, India: HIV/STI Risk Across Personal and Work Contexts.” Sexually Transmitted Infections 92(6): 424-429. doi:10.1136/sextrans-2015-052162
  • Biradavolu MR, Blankenship KM, George A, Dhungana N. 2015. “Unintended Consequences of Community-Based Monitoring Systems: Lessons from an HIV Prevention Intervention for Sex Workers in South India.” World Development 67: 1-10.
  • Blankenship KM, Reinhard E, Sherman SG, El-Bassal N.  2015. “Structural Interventions for HIV Prevention among Women and Girls Who Use or Inject Drugs: A Global Perspective.” JAIDS 69(Supp 2): S140-S145.
  • Brady D, Biradavolu MR, Blankenship KM. 2015. “Brokers and the Earnings of Female Sex Workers in India.” American Sociological Review 80(6): 1123-1149.
  • Erausquin JT, Reed E, Blankenship KM. 2015. “Change over Time in Police Interactions and HIV Risk Behavior among Female Sex Workers in Andhra Pradesh, India.” AIDS and Behavior 19(6): 1108-1115.
  • George A, Blankenship KM. 2015. “Peer Outreach Work as Economic Activity: Implications for HIV Prevention Interventions among Female Sex Workers.” PLoS ONE 10(3): e0119729. doi:10.1371/ journal.pone.0119729
  • George A, Blankenship KM, Biradavolu MR, Dhungana N. 2015. “Sex Workers in HIV Prevention: From Social Change Agents to Peer Educators.” Global Public Health 10(1): 28-40.
  • Smoyer AB, Blankenship KM. 2014. “Dealing Food:  Female Drug Users' Narratives about Food in Prison and Implications for Their Health.” International Journal of Drug Policy, 25(3): 562-568.
  • Biradavolu MR, Blankenship KM, Jena A, Dhungana N, Puloka E. 2012. “Structural Stigma, Sex Work and HIV: Contradictions and Lessons Learned from a Community-Led Structural Intervention in Southern India.” Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 66(Suppl 2): ii95-ii99.
  • Erausquin JT, Biradavolu MR, Reed E, Burroway R, Brady D, Blankenship KM. 2012.  “Trends in Condom Use Among Female Sex Workers in Andhra Pradesh, India: The Impact of a Community Mobilization Intervention.” Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 66(Suppl 2):ii49-ii54.
  • Erausquin JT, Reed E, Blankenship KM.  2011. “Police-Related Experiences and HIV Risk among Female Sex Workers in Andhra Pradesh, India.” Journal of Infectious Diseases 204(suppl 5): S1223-S1228.
  • Blankenship KM, Biradavolu MR, Jena A, George A. 2010. “Opportunities and Challenges in Implementing a Community Led Structural Intervention: Participation of Indian Female Sex Workers in an AIDS Awareness Program.” AIDS Care 22(Supp 2):1629-1636.
  • Blankenship KM, Burroway R, Reed E. 2010. “Factors Associated with Exposure to and Utilization of a Community Mobilization Intervention for Female Sex Workers in Andhra Pradesh, India.” Sexually Transmitted Infections 86(Suppl 1): i69-i75.
  • Pouget ER, Kershaw TS, Niccolai LM, Ickovics JR, Blankenship KM. 2010. “Associations of Sex Ratios and Male Incarceration Rates with Multiple Opposite-sex Partners: Potential Social Determinants of HIV/STI Transmission.” Public Health Reports 125(Suppl 4): 70-80.
  • Biradavolu M, Burris S, George A, Jena A, Blankenship KM. 2009. “Can Sex Workers Regulate Police? Learning from an HIV Prevention Project for Sex Workers in Southern India.” Social Science and Medicine 68(8): 1541–1547.
  • Blankenship KM, West B, Kershaw T, Biradovolu M. 2008. “Power, Community Mobilization, and Condom Use Behavior Among Female Sex Workers in East Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh, India.” AIDS 22(Suppl 5): 109-116.
  • Blankenship KM, Friedman SR, Dworkin SL, Mantell JE. 2006. “Structural Interventions: Concepts, Challenges, and Opportunities for Research.” Journal of Urban Health 83(1): 59-72.
  • Blankenship KM, Koester S. 2002. “Criminal Law, Policing Policy, and HIV Risk in Street Sex Workers and IDUs.” Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 13 (4): 548-559
  • Blankenship KM, Bray SJ, Merson MH. 2000. “Structural Interventions in Public Health.” AIDS 14(suppl): S11-S21.

Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

  •  AU Faculty Award for Outstanding Contribution to Fostering Collaborative Scholarship, 2019
  •  College Dean's Award for Exceptional Impact, American University, 2016
  •  Teaching with Research Award, American University, Center for Teaching, Research and Learning

Grants and Sponsored Research


National Institute of Mental Health. 1R01MH110192, “Social Determinants of HIV: The Intersecting Impacts of Mass Incarceration, Housing Stability, and Subsidized Housing Policies.” PI, Kim Blankenship, 06/15/16-03/31/22

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. 1R01DK124500. The Effects of Affordable Housing Access on type 2 Diabetes Self-management and Control.” PI, Danya Keene (Yale University), Co-I Kim Blankenship, 04/01/20-03/31/25

Russell Sage Foundation. 1911-18814. “Informal Housing Provision, Health, and Inequality.” Principal Investigator, Danya Keene, Co-PI, Kim Blankenship, 10/01/2020-09/30/2021

National Institute on Drug Abuse. 1R01DA025021-05, “Drug Policy, Incarceration, Community Re-entry, and Race Disparities in HIV/AIDS.” PI, Kim Blankenship, 09/15/09 – 07/31/16

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 30183B, “Structural Interventions and HIV Prevention in India, Phase 2.” PI, Kim Blankenship, 01/01/08 – 12/31/14

National Institute on Drug Abuse. 3 R01 DA025021 04S1, “Drug Policy, Incarceration, Community Re-entry, and Race Disparities in HIV/AIDS: Diversity Supplement.” PI, Kim Blankenship, 08/01/12 – 07/31/14

National Institute on Drug Abuse. 1R01DA025021-01A1, “Drug Policy, Incarceration, Community Re-entry, and Race Disparities in HIV/AIDS: Diversity Supplement.” PI, Kim Blankenship. 08/01/12 – 07/31/13

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 30183, “Structural Interventions and HIVPrevention in India.” PI, Kim Blankenship, 5/1/04 – 12/31/07

National Institute on Drug Abuse. 1R21DA019186-01, “Criminal Justice, Race, and HIV Risk in CT Drug Users.” PI, Kim Blankenship, 9/25/04 – 8/31/07

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. R62/CCR117977, “Structural Interventions to Reduce HIV Incidence in Drug Users.” PI, Kim Blankenship 9/30/99 – 9/29/02