Senior Research Advisor | Assistant Professor
Dr. Underwood is a Senior Research Advisor for Research and Evaluation at the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs, where she has been on staff for almost 20 years. A sociologist with a Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Underwood has conducted research and worked in the area of international development and health communication for 20 years. A key aspect of her work is to translate theory and research findings into workable programmatic recommendations, with particularly attention to achieving gender equity.
Dr. Underwood has published peer-reviewed articles, based on qualitative and quantitative methods, on a range of communication and health topics, including HIV prevention among adolescents, Muslim religious leaders’ views on family planning, emerging leadership in the Arab world, Islam and health policy, enabling women’s agency in the Arab world, and bringing gender into health communication programs. She directs the Gender Initiative to Reduce Girls’ Vulnerability to HIV/AIDS. Recent and forthcoming publications include, “Enabling Women’s Agency: Arab Women Speak Out,” and ““Ritual Communication and Changing Gender Norms in Uganda: A Study of African Transformation.” Dr. Underwood teaches graduate seminars in communication theory at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in the Department of Health, Behavior and Society, where she is an assistant professor. She has worked in Azerbaijan, Botswana, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Iran, Jordan, Malawi, Mozambique, Oman, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United States, Yemen, and Zambia. She is fluent in Persian.