Janet M. Turan, PhD


Dr. Janet Turan is a Professor in the Department of Health Care Organization and Policy at the UAB School of Public Health. She is also serving as the Director for the UAB Sparkman Center for Global Health. Dr. Turan's main research interests are in the topic area of maternal and child health (MCH) in low-resource settings of both developing and developed countries. Over the course of her research career, she has used both quantitative and qualitative research methods to examine factors related to the promotion of MCH in diverse settings including Turkey, Jordan, Italy, Eritrea, Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Egypt, and the United States. She is currently conducting research aiming to reduce the adverse effects of HIV/AIDS on the physical and mental health of pregnant and childbearing women in Kenya, with a special focus on HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination. In addition, her current research program includes the study of stigma as it relates to a variety of reproductive health conditions/services, including abortion, obstetric fistula, HIV/AIDS, and gender-based violence.

Dr. Turan is currently Co-Chair of the Psychosocial and Behavioral Working Group of the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) and Co-Director for the UAB Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) Community and Behavioral Science Core. 

Areas of Interest:

  •  Maternal health and mortality
  •  Developing countries
  •  Stigma and discrimination
  •  Reproductive health
  •  Gender-based violence
  •  Quality of care
  •  Community mobilization
  •  Male involvement in reproductive health


Ongoing Research Projects:

Title: Maximizing Adherence and Retention in Women and Infants in the Context of Option B+ in Kenya.  Key Funder(s): U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development  Main Project Goal: To identify effective methods in order to ensure long-term adherence and retention in care for mother-baby pairs throughout pregnancy, breastfeeding, and beyond in areas where mother to child transmission (MTCT) rates are high. The evidence-based interventions to be tested will include 1) community Mentor Mothers (cMM) who will provide support for ART adherence and retention in care for HIV-positive women in the community and 2) individually tailored, theory-based mobile phone text messages.  Results from this study will inform the scale-up of Option B+ in Kenya by identifying effective interventions that can maximize the potential of Option B+ with the aims of reaching the elimination of MTCT of HIV and significantly improving maternal health.


Title: A Home Based Couples Intervention to Enhance Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) and Family Health in Kenya  Key Funder(s): U.S. National Institute of Mental Health Main Project Goal: To adapt evidence-based Couples HIV Counseling and Testing (CHCT) protocols for the needs of pregnant couples and train lay health workers to deliver this service as part of home visits.  Engaging both partners of a couple during pregnancy has the potential to enhance health decisions, increase healthcare utilization, and ultimately improve maternal, paternal, and infant health.  We are in the process of translating our findings into a viable intervention model together with local stakeholders. We will then conduct a pilot study, in which we will randomize pregnant women at two antenatal clinics to the home-based intervention or standard care, and follow them and their male partners until three months after the birth of the baby. Results will provide evidence of the preliminary impact, acceptability, and feasibility of the intervention and the study methods, which will allow us to develop an efficacy trial.


Title: Women's Adherence and Visit Engagement (WAVE) Study  Key Funder(s): U.S National Institutes of Health; U.S. National Institute of Mental Health Main Project Goal: This is an R01 funded as a sub-study of the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS).  The purpose of this project is to address the gaps in knowledge relating to HIV-related stigma by leveraging the resources of the national Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), which has been collecting data on HIV-infected women's treatment adherence, mental health, and immunologic and virologic outcomes for 20 years. This study will enable us to fund the continuation of brief measures of internalized stigma and HIV status disclosure previously added to national WIHS data collection in order to establish longitudinal effects. We will also begin to collect additional measures of theoretically important dimensions of stigma, validated measures of hypothesized interpersonal, psychological, and mental health mechanisms, measures of other intersecting stigmas and discrimination (due to race, gender, and socio-economic status), as well as hair samples for assessment of cortisol (a biomarker for chronic stress).


Title: Integrating ENGagement and Adherence Goals upon Entry: iENGAGE to Control HIV (Life Experiences Sub-Study)  Key Funder(s): U.S. National Institutes of Health; U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases   Main Project Goal: The iENGAGE study, carried out by the UAB 1917 Clinic, is a 4-session intervention for HIV+ individuals who are new to care. The intervention follows the patients over the first year of their treatment to determine if the sessions will help establish early behaviors to improve health outcomes.  The purpose of Dr. Turan's Life Experiences sub-study is to gain further understanding of the factors that influence the physical and mental health of people living with HIV, including social factors that affect adherence to HIV medications and attending HIV care visits.  Participants will be chosen from both the intervention and the control arms of the larger iENGAGE study and will take part in a qualitative in-depth interview.  This information gathered in the interviews will be used to further develop programs and services to support persons living with HIV.


Title: Young Women's Health Decision-Making Study  Key Funder(s): The Society of Family Planning Research Fund  Main Project Goal:  The purpose of this mixed methods research project is to better understand the role of reproductive stigmas in young women's decision-making when faced with an unintended pregnancy.  We have used focus groups and in-depth qualitative interviews to adapt existing stigma measures for the general population of women who have experienced an unintended pregnancy and to develop new items to capture other relevant social stigmas (e.g. stigma of single parenthood, stigma of giving a child up for adoption).  We are currently using the findings and new measures developed from the focus groups and in-depth interviews to survey low-income women at Jefferson County Department of Health centers in the Birmingham metro area.


Title: The FRESH (Finding Respect and Ending Stigma around HIV) Study  Key Funder(s): UAB Center for AIDS Research Developmental Core; UAB School of Public Health - Back of the Envelope (BOTE) Award   Main Project Goal:  The purpose of the FRESH study is to design and pilot-test an intervention for HIV-related stigma reduction in public health department and other primary health care settings in Alabama that addresses all levels of staff and leads to increased uptake of HIV testing and linkage to HIV care in their patient population.  We have adapted a multi-country African stigma reduction intervention for the Alabama setting and pilot-tested it in two workshops with groups composed of health care worker staff and persons living with HIV.  We are currently analyzing workshop data, writing manuscripts based on the findings, and determining next steps for scale-up of the intervention.