Photo of Dr. Kathleen RagsdaleResearch Professor, Social Science Research Center

Ph.D., Cultural Anthropology, University of Florida, 2002

M.A., Sociology, Florida International University, 1997


Phone: (662) 325-9168

Fax: (662) 325-7966

An applied medical anthropologist, Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale joined the SSRC in 2007 after completing National Institutes of Health (NIH) postdoctoral fellowships in Milwaukee and New York City.

Ragsdale has served as PI, Co-PI, Program Evaluator, and Research Scientist international and domestic projects supported by, for example, USAID, NIH, CDC, USDA NIFA, UNIFEM, and Advocates for Youth.

For over 15 years, Ragsdale’s research program has addressed health disparities among minority and vulnerable populations in the U.S. and abroad. She has focused on sexual risk behavior, adolescent pregnancy prevention, gender-based food security, nutrition education and behavior (including infant feeding outcomes among teen mothers), HIV/STI prevention among vulnerable youth; culturally tailored eHealth/ICT interventions for public health promotion, and program evaluation.


Social determinants of health and health disparities; HIV/STI prevention among vulnerable youth and young adults; adolescent pregnancy and associated high risk behaviors; nutrition education and behavior; eHealth interventions (ICT for public health promotion); community-based research; program evaluation.


2005-2007: National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) National Research Service Award Postdoctoral Fellow, Behavioral Sciences Training in Drug Abuse Research Program, National Development and Research Institutes (NDRI), New York.

2004-2005: Marie Ward Doty Postdoctoral Research Associate, Center for Ethics Education, Fordham University, New York.

2003-2004: National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) National Research Service Award Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for AIDS Intervention Research (CAIR), Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

2002: Ph.D., Medical Anthropology, University of Florida, Gainesville.

1997: M.A., Sociology, Florida International University, Miami.

2013-date: Associate Research Professor, Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University.

2012-date: Member, Family & Children Research Unit, Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University.

2011-date: Adjunct Faculty, Department of Sociology, Mississippi State University.

2009-2013: Assistant Research Professor, Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University.

2007-2009: Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work, Mississippi State University.

2007-date: Research Fellow, Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University.

2007: Adjunct Faculty, Department of Urban Public Health, Hunter College CUNY, New York.

2006: Adjunct Faculty, College of Nursing, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn.

2001-2002: Instructor, Department of Anthropology, University of Florida, Gainesville.

1996: Instructor, Department of Sociology & Anthropology, Florida International University, Miami.


2010-date Fellow, Society for Applied Anthropology.

2010 Researcher of the Month–October, Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University.

2009-2011 NIH Health Disparities Loan Repayment Program (LRP) Award, National Center on Minority Health & Health Disparities.

2009 Career Development Funds Award, Cyber Mentor Program, American Psychological Association.

2007 National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) Director’s Travel Award.

2006 National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) Director’s Travel Award.

2003-2005 NIH Health Disparities LRP Award, National Center on Minority Health & Health Disparities.

2002 John M. Goggin Award for Outstanding PhD Research & Writing in Anthropology, University of Florida.

2001-2002 Tinker Foundation Field Research Award, University of Florida.

1999 International Population Studies Scholarship, Center for Population Planning, Population Fellows Summer Program, University of Michigan.

1995 Anthony P. Maingot Graduate Prize for the Greater Caribbean, Florida International University.


2014 Reviewer, 2014 National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media Program. CDC and National Public Health Information Coalition.

2013 Member, Global Center for Aquatic Food Security Planning Committee, Mississippi State University.

2013 Reviewer, Maternal and Child Health Section, 2013 American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting Program.

2013 Trainee, Community-Based Participatory Research: A Partnership Approach for Public Health (online course), University of Michigan School of Public Health.

2013 Member, Executive Board Nominations Committee, Society for Medical Anthropology.

2012 Reviewer, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Special Emphasis Panel (SEP), PS11-0010201 Supp12, HIV Behavioral Surveillance.

2012 Invited Panel Discussant, Increasing Access to Youth Friendly Health Services, Proven Solutions to Preventing Teen Pregnancy: A Statewide Conference on Abstinence‐Plus, Evidence‐Based Sex Education.

2012 Invited Moderator, Teen Pregnancy: Fostering Health & Preventions, 2012 American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting.

2012 Invited Moderator, Multi-Channel Communication: Phone, Chat & Text Helplines, 2012 Sex: Tech Conference on New Media, Youth & Sexual Health.

2011-date Member, Institutional Review Board (IRB) Committee, Mississippi State University.

2010 Chair, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention SEP, PS10-1003, HIV Prevention Projects for Community-Based Organizations.

2009-2010 Mentee, Cyber Mentors Program—Cohort I, American Psychological Association.

2009 Co-Chair, Society for Medical Anthropology, 2009 American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting Program.

2007 Program Evaluator, New York State Health Department, Latino Organization for Liver Awareness (LOLA) Initiative.

2006-date Contributing Editor, Society for Medical Anthropology, Anthropology News.

2005 Reviewer, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Center for Scientific Review, Community-Level Health Promotion Study Section.

2005 Invited Presenter, Guttmacher Institute, New York.


Buffington A, McKee C, Ragsdale K, Blanchard T, Baggett D, Southward LH. (In press). Impact of Mississippi Healthy Students Act of 2007 on district- and school-level health policies: School officials’ perspectives. Journal of School Health.

Ragsdale K, Bersamin M, Schwartz SJ, Zamboanga BL, Kerrick MR, Grube JW. (2013). Development of sexual expectancies among adolescents with no prior sexual intercourse experience: Contributions by parents, peers and the media. Journal of Sex Research, 0(0), 1-10. doi: 10.1080/00224499.2012.753025.

Ragsdale K, Porter JR, Zamboanga BL, St Lawrence JS, Read-Wahidi R, White A. (2012). High risk drinking among female college drinkers at two reporting intervals: Comparing Spring Break to the 30 days prior. Sexuality Research & Social Policy, 9(1), 31-40. doi: 10.1007/s13178-011-0071-0.

Ragsdale K, Porter JR, Mathews R, White A, Gore-Felton C, McGarvey EL. (2012). ‘Liquor before beer, you’re in the clear’: Binge drinking and other risk behaviors among fraternity/sorority members and their non-Greek peers. Journal of Substance Use, 17(4), 323-339. doi: 10.3109/14659891.2011.583312.

Southward LH, Ragsdale K, McKee C, Buffington A, Baggett D, Blanchard T, Edwards J. (2012). Public school parents’ perspectives on the 2007 Mississippi Healthy Students Act: Findings from 2009-2011. Journal of Mississippi State Medical Association, LIII(8), 247-252.

Walton LR, Seitz H, Ragsdale K. (2012). Strategic use of YouTube during a national public health crisis: The CDC’s response to the 2009 H1N1 flu epidemic. Case Studies in Strategic Communication, 1, 25-37.

Ragsdale K, Gore-Felton C, Koopman C, Seal DW. (2009). Relationship power, acculturation, and sexual risk behavior among low-income Latinas of Mexican or Puerto Rican ethnicity. Sexuality Research & Social Policy, 6(1), 56-69. [Special Issue: State of the Art in Sexuality Research].

Wutich A, Ragsdale K. (2008). Water insecurity and emotional distress: Coping with supply, access, and seasonal variability of water in a Bolivian squatter settlement. Social Science & Medicine, 67(12), 2116-2125. PMID: 18954928.

Grant K, Ragsdale K. (2008). Sex and the ‘recently single’: Perceptions of sexuality and HIV risk among mature women and primary care physicians. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 10(5), 495-511. PMID: 18568872.

Ragsdale K, Anders JT, Philippakos E. (2007). Migrant Latinas and brothel sex work in Belize: Sexual agency and sexual risk. Journal of Cultural Diversity, 14(1), 26-34. PMID: 19172970.

Benotsch EG, Nettles CD, Wong F, Redmann J, Boschini J, Pinkerton SD, Ragsdale K, Mikytuck JM. (2007). Sexual risk behavior in men attending Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans, Louisiana. Journal of Community Health, 32(5), 343-356. PMID: 17922205. Free PMC Article

Ragsdale K. (2007). Intervention studies. In S. Boslaugh (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Epidemiology. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 562-564.

Fisher CB, Ragsdale K. (2006). Goodness-of-fit ethics for multicultural research. In JE Trimble, C Fisher (Eds.), Handbook of Ethical Research with Ethnocultural Populations and Communities. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Pp. 3-26.

Benotsch EG, Mikytuck JM, Ragsdale K, Pinkerton SD. (2006). Sexual risk and HIV acquisition among men who have sex with men travelers to Key West, Florida: A mathematical modeling analysis. AIDS Patient Care and STDs, 20(8), 549-556. PMID: 16893324.

Benotsch EG, Seeley S, Mikytuck JM, Pinkerton SD, Nettles CD, Ragsdale K. (2006). Substance use, medications for sexual facilitation, and sexual risk behavior among traveling men who have sex with men. Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 33(12), 706-711. PMID: 16688098.

Ragsdale K, DiFranceisco W, Pinkerton SD. (2006). Where the boys are: Sexual expectations and behavior among young women on holiday. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 8(2), 85-98. PMID: 16641059.

Ward J, Ragsdale K. (2004). Latinas, sexual communication & HIV/AIDS education: Notes from the field. AIDS & Anthropology, 16(2), 2.

Ragsdale K, Anders JT. (1999). The muchachas of Orange Walk Town, Belize. In K. Kempadoo (Ed.), Sun, Sex, and Gold: Tourism and Sex Work in the Caribbean. Boulder: Rowman & Littlefield. Pp. 217-236.


Ragsdale K, Walton LR, eBaby Research Team. (2013). Prenatal Nutrition Tips (eBaby Video 1). Educational YouTube video.

Ragsdale K, Walton LR, eBaby Research Team. (2013). Day in Life of Teen Mom (eBaby Video2). Educational YouTube video.

Ragsdale K, Walton LR, eBaby Research Team. (2013). Breastfeeding Myths (eBaby Video 3). Educational YouTube video.

Ragsdale K, Walton LR, eBaby Research Team. (2013). How to Breastfeed: Part 1 (eBaby Video 4). Educational YouTube video.

Ragsdale K, Walton LR, eBaby Research Team. (2013). How to Breastfeed: Part 2 (eBaby Video 5). Educational YouTube video.

Ragsdale K, Robertson A, Baird-Thomas C, Read-Wahidi R, Husain J, Karges A, Gresham K. (2010). STDs and HIV Prevention: Keep you and your partner safe from HIV and other STDs. Educational DVD and companion guide.

Ragsdale K. (1997). Forbidden fruit: An exploration of the madonna/whore complex. Educational video. Harn Museum, Gainesville, FL.

Ragsdale K, Ogle Y, Clark TP. (1995). Remedies from our own back yards: Medicinal use of common Miami plants by immigrant groups. Educational poster. The Miami Herald.


USAID RFA-OAA-12-000036 P. Goldsmith (PI) 2013-2018
Feed the Future Innovation Laboratory for Soybean Value Chain Research | Soybean Innovation Lab (SIL) Five-year development project focused on rural agricultural empowerment, food security, poverty reduction, nutrition, and environmental conservation in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Role: Co-PI

MSU MAFES Special Research Initiative K. Ragsdale (PI) 2013-2014
eBaby Phase II | Early Infant Feeding Disparities among Rural Low-Income Young MothersMultimethod study of early infant feeding behaviors among African American and rural low-income primiparous teen/young mothers in Mississippi.
Role: PI

Women’s Foundation of Mississippi K. Ragsdale (PI) 2013-2014
Community College Completion ProjectProject to collect data on multilevel factors that impact the completion of community college among low-income female students. $30,000.
Role: PI

USDA NIFA K. Ragsdale (PI) 2012-2014
Enhancing Early Infant Feeding among Low-Income First-Time Teen/Young Mothers through New/Social Media (eBaby Project)Adapt existing and new infant feeding content into culturally relevant parenting videos for ethnically diverse low-income teen/young mothers and distribute via YouTube, etc.
Role: PI

Women’s Foundation of Mississippi K. Ragsdale (PI) 2012-2014
Midtown Teen Health Clinic Project‒Evaluation Evaluate a youth-friendly healthy clinic for minority inner-city youth.
Role: PI

Completed Grants & Contracts (FROM AMONG 19)

Health Care Foundation of N Mississippi K. Ragsdale (PI) 2012-2013

HealthWorks! Evaluation‒Year 6 Constructed matched comparison group study among 1,000 elementary students to evaluate HealthWorks! Be a Food Groupie program’s impact on health and nutrition knowledge.
Role: PI

Advocates for Youth Penick, Bardwell, Ragsdale, Fouquier, Johnson (PIs) 2012-2013
Mississippi School Health Equity Project Study to establish a youth-friendly healthy clinic serving minority inner-city youth.
Role: Co-PI

CDC; My Brother’s Keeper R. McMillen (PI), K. Ragsdale (Co-PI) 2012
Project CHANGE: Community Transformation Grant Project to conduct secondary data analyses to identify health disparities associated with high risk behaviors.
Role: Co-PI

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation L. Southward (PI) 2012 Evaluation of the Impact of the Mississippi Healthy Students Act on Childhood Obesity Evaluate the Act’s impact on physical education, nutrition, and health education in public schools.
Role: Senior Research Scientist

Delta Health Alliance A. Robertson (PI), K. Ragsdale & C Baird-Thomas (Co-PIs) 2008-2009
HIV Project 35: HIV Testing & Prevention Services in Substance Abuse Treatment Multisite, multimethods study to increase on-site HIV rapid testing and HIV prevention knowledge among substance abuse treatment clients in the Mississippi Delta.
Role: Co-PI

NY State Health Department S. Strauss (PI) 2006-2007
Latino Organization for Liver Awareness, Hepatitis C Virus Initiative Evaluated program to increase HIV/HCV prevention among minority high-risk populations.
Role: Program Evaluator

NIMH R21 MH 078790 E. Benotsch (PI) 2006-2008
HIV Risk Behavior in Men Engaged in Recreational Travel Examined substance use and HIV/STI risk among men who have sex with men (MSM) tourists.
Role: Research Scientist

NIMH P30-MH52776 K. Ragsdale (PI) 2003-2004
Safer Sex Negotiation & Behavior among Young Adult Latina Women Multimethods study to assess relationship power and sexual risk among 2nd generation, inner-city Latinas.
Role: PI

NIMH R01-MH62972 D. Seal (PI) 2000-2004
Qualitative study of couples’ communication and behavior Longitudinal multimethods study to assess intimacy development and risk behaviors among new couples.
Role: Senior Research Scientist

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