Bridgette M. Brawner, PhD, APRN
Who lives in your neighborhood? What’s the crime rate?
Data from geographic information systems (GIS) mapping is one way Bridgette M. Brawner develops interventions for urban populations to improve family and community health and promote sexual health, such as preventing HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
Social Justice through Nursing
Through her research, teaching, and community engagement, Dr. Brawner improves the health of historically underserved people and communities. She and her health disparities research team immerse themselves in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods – conducting focus groups, interviewing neighbors, and doing behavior surveys. They combine this information with GIS data on community characteristics such as income and education levels to analyze how social and structural conditions, including the built environment – crowding, green space, and proximity to public transit – affect health.
Brawner’s work shows how conditions such as living in disadvantaged neighborhoods or being under stress due to high levels of crime can harm health, while remedying them can effect positive change. In one NIH-funded project, she studied how these factors can affect HIV/AIDS infection. In another project, she is studying short-term solutions for health promotion, such as bringing community members together to plant a garden, paint a house, and create stronger ties that support healthy behaviors.
“My team’s research creates real change to improve the health of historically underserved people in disenfranchised communities.”
- MDiv, Palmer Theological Seminary of Eastern University, 2017
- PhD, University of Pennsylvania, 2009
- MSN, University of Pennsylvania, 2005
- BSN, Villanova University, 2003
Along with her extensive federally-funded research into the factors influencing HIV and AIDS among Black residents of Philadelphia, Dr. Brawner, who is a psychiatric-mental health advanced practice nurse, focuses on how mental health conditions, such as depression in Black youth, correlate with unhealthy behaviors. In her clinical work, she partners with behavioral health providers on interventions for adolescents with mental illness and works with youth affected by HIV/AIDS. She also studies how community gathering places such as churches and barbershops are important for community health and the spread of information.
Opportunities to Learn and Collaborate at Penn Nursing
As a member of Penn Nursing’s Health Equity Collaborative, Dr. Brawner collaborates with interdisciplinary faculty across campus as well as at other academic and community institutions. She teaches a variety of interdisciplinary courses for undergraduates through doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows. Dr. Brawner received the 2011 Award for Teaching Excellence from Penn Nursing’s Family and Community Health Department.
Noting that many students choose nursing to help people and change the world, Dr. Brawner describes Penn Nursing as a springboard from which students can launch their careers in any direction. From becoming a neonatal ICU bedside nurse to the architect of a clean water program, Penn provides a vast array of opportunities. Dr. Brawner takes pride in watching undergraduate students learn basic research techniques and graduate students learn new skill sets to advance their own research agendas.
Selected Career Highlights
- Chair, National Advisory Committee, American Nurses Association/Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association Minority Fellowship Program
- Faculty Fellow, New College House, University of Pennsylvania
- 2015 Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research Protégée Award
- Outstanding Fieldwork Supervisor Award, Temple University Department of Public Health
Brawner, B. M. & Sutton, M. Y. (2018). Sexual health research among youth representing minority populations: To waive or not to waive parental consent. Ethics and Behavior, 28(7), 544-559. doi: 10.1080/10508422.2017.1365303
Ha, Y. P., Seifu, L. D., Lewis, L. M., Dupuis, R., Brawner, B. M., & Cannuscio, C. C. (2018). Partnering medical students with barbers to cut hypertension in Black men. American Journal of Public Health, 108(6), 785-787. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2018.304374
Brawner, B. M., Jemmott, L. S., Wingood, G., Reason, J., & Mack, N. (2018). HIV/STI prevention among heterosexually active Black adolescents with mental illnesses: Focus group findings for intervention development. Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care, 29(1), 30-44. doi: 10.1016/j.jana.2017.09.008
Brawner, B. M., Jemmott, L. S., Wingood, G., Reason, J., Daly, B., Brooks, K. & Lanier, Y. (2017). Feelings matter: Depression severity and emotion regulation in HIV/STI risk-related sexual behaviors. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 26(6), 1635-1645. doi: 10.1007/s10826-017-0674-z
Brawner, B. M., Guthrie, B., Stevens, R., Taylor, L., Eberhart, M. & Schensul, J. J. (2017). Place still matters: Racial/ethnic and geographic disparities in HIV transmission and disease burden. Journal of Urban Health, 94(5), 716-729. doi: 10.1007/s11524-017-0198-2
Stevens, RS, Gilliard-Matthews, S, Dunaev, J, Todhunter-Reid, A., Brawner, B. M. & Stewart, J. (2017). Social media use and sexual risk reduction behavior among minority youth: Seeking safe sex information. Nursing Research, 66(5), 368-377. doi: 10.1097/NNR.0000000000000237
Brawner, B.M., Reason, J., Goodman, B., Guthrie, B., & Schensul, J. (2015). Multi-level drivers of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) among Black Philadelphians: Exploration using community ethnography and geographic information systems. Nursing Research, 64(2): 100-110. doi: 10.1097/NNR.0000000000000076
Brawner, B. M. (2014). A multi-level understanding of HIV/AIDS disease burden among African American women. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing, 43(5): 633-643. doi: 10.1111/1552-6909.12481 (Selected by the Editor for Continuing Nursing Education [CNE] contact hours)
Brawner, B. M., Abboud, S., Reason, J., Wingood, G., Jemmott, L. S. (in press). The development of an innovative, theory-driven, psychoeducational HIV/STI prevention intervention for heterosexually active black adolescents with mental illnesses. Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies. doi: 10.1080/17450128.2019.1567962
Brawner, B. M., Jemmott, L. S., Wingood, G., Lozano, A. J., & Hanlon, A. (in press). Project GOLD: A pilot randomized controlled trial of a novel psychoeducational HIV/STI prevention intervention for heterosexually-active Black youth. Research in Nursing & Health. doi: 10.1002/nur.21930