Skip to Main Content

Student Spotlight – Christina Bastida

November 07, 2017
by Denise Meyer

A second-year MPH student in the Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases, Christina Bastida is already well-versed in public health practice and research. From her early exposure interning at San Joaquin County Public Health Services and conducting an epidemiological study in her hometown of Stockton, California, Christina was struck by the fact that Latinos and other minorities seen at these clinics were being diagnosed for STDs and HIV at young ages. Specifically, young men of color acquired HIV as young age 16. Seeing this disparity affect her own community has made her determined to be an agent of change. A first-generation American and first in her family to attend college, Christina settled on public health as a career path as an undergraduate at Johns Hopkins. She quickly determined she needed more study to be able to dig more deeply into the barriers and solutions to culturally appropriate prevention and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.

Last summer Christina interned with the National Behavioral Surveillance Study (NHBS), known as BESURE, in Baltimore City. NHBS is a CDC national HIV behavioral surveillance program that measures HIV prevalence, risk behaviors, testing behaviors and exposure to prevention services among at-risk populations: men who have sex with men (MSM), heterosexuals, and injection drug users (IDU). Christina participated in venue-based data collection focusing on MSM, and analyzed IDU surveillance data to evaluate HIV incidence and unrecognized infection over time. At the same time, Christina drew from social capital theory to develop tools for an additional study that focuses on young African American MSM. The internship, says Christina, “was revelatory for me as to how to bridge epidemiology of infectious diseases with social contextual factors that affect transmission and health care seeking.” Christina is exploring these concepts further with an interdisciplinary thesis working with Professor Trace Kershaw in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences and is applying to doctoral programs.

As assistant director for the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (CIRA) T32 HIV training grant, Christina has been able to participate in many of CIRA’s seminars and leverage the networks of researchers in the field and enrich her research experience. Through that network she began collaboration with a group studying how women who experience interpersonal violence in Mexico utilize health resources. She will be first author on the resulting paper, and is a contributor to two other papers as well.

Submitted by Denise Meyer on November 08, 2017