Urban — Global Public Health

Faculty Profile

  • Leslie Kantor, PhD, MPH

  • Chair & Professor

  • Department of Urban-Global Public Health

  • CV

Sex education; sexual and reproductive health; LGBTQ health; digital health interventions; parent-child communication about sex; public support for sex education.

Dr. Kantor is the inaugural Chair of the Department of Urban-Global Public Health and joins Rutgers as a professor after a distinguished career in the field of sexual and reproductive health.  Most recently, she served as the Vice President of Education for Planned Parenthood Federation of America.  She served for a decade on the faculty of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University where she conducted research, both internationally and in the US, on topics including sex education, adolescent health, health disparities and effective interventions.  Courses she developed included Management of Healthcare Organizations and Pedagogy of Sexuality Education.  

Research Interests
Dr. Kantor’s research has centered on exploring topics that will improve the public health of underserved communities. In particular, she has conducted a series of mixed method studies related to adolescent health, sexual and reproductive health (SRH) with a particular focus on formative and evaluation research to improve prevention and promotion interventions, and research designed to inform key policy issues in SRH. Dr. Kantor’s research does not end with dissemination. The final stage involves collaborative efforts to translate findings into programmatic and policy advances. For example, she has been very involved in trying to ensure that US policy related to teen pregnancy and STD prevention continues to be informed by evidence and that funding does not revert to supporting abstinence-only-until-marriage programs which have little evidence to suggest that they change behavior and are particularly damaging for some groups of young people including LGBTQ youth, sexually active youth and youth with a history of sexual abuse. Her work has included partnering with colleagues to update a comprehensive literature review on abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, helping to craft a new position statement for the Society for Adolescent Medicine, and serving as an expert witness as part of litigation to help prevent the Trump administration from using funding for evidence-based approaches to prevention to turn those funds toward abstinence-only approaches.

Research Highlights

Formative and outcomes research on digital approaches to improving sexual and reproductive health.

Parental influence on adolescent sexual health.

Analyses of public support for sex education.

Meeting the needs of LGBTQ youth, African American youth and Latino youth.

Select Publications
V Guilamo-Ramos,JJ Lee,LM Kantor,DS Levine,S Baum,J Johnsen (2015) "Potential for using online and mobile education with parents and adolescents to impact sexual and reproductive health.", Prevention science : the official journal of the Society for Prevention Research 16(5) 53-60 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=24522898&report=abstract

J Steinke,M Root-Bowman,S Estabrook,DS Levine,LM Kantor (2017) "Meeting the Needs of Sexual and Gender Minority Youth: Formative Research on Potential Digital Health Interventions.", The Journal of adolescent health : official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine 60(5) 541-548 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=28108088&report=abstract

J Santelli,S Grilo,L Lindberg,I Speizer,A Schalet,J Heitel,L Kantor,M Ott,M Lyon,J Rogers,C Heck,A Mason-Jones (2017) "Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Policies and Programs: An Updated Position Paper of the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine", Journal of Adolescent Health 61(5) 400-403 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage+Policies+and+Programs%3A+An+Updated+Position+Paper+of+the+Society+for+Adolescent+Health+and+Medicine

JS Santelli,LM Kantor,SA Grilo,IS Speizer,LD Lindberg,J Heitel,AT Schalet,ME Lyon,AJ Mason-Jones,T McGovern,CJ Heck,J Rogers,MA Ott (2017) "Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage: An Updated Review of U.S. Policies and Programs and Their Impact.", The Journal of adolescent health : official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine 61(5) 273-280 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=28842065&report=abstract

Leslie Kantor,N Levitz (2017) "Parents' views on sex education in schools: How much do Democrats and Republicans agree?", PloS one 12(5) e0180250- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=28672027&report=abstract

N Levitz,E Wood,L Kantor (2018) "The Influence of Technology Delivery Mode on Intervention Outcomes: Analysis of a Theory-Based Sexual Health Program.", Journal of medical Internet research 20(5) e10398- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=30158100&report=abstract

Scholarly Activities
ETR Associates, Board of Directors (2017)

Mexican American Legal Defense Education Fund (MALDEF) (2003)

Answer (formerly Network for Family Life Education) (2000)

National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy (now Power to Decide) (1996)

Reviewer, Journal of Adolescent Health

Reviewer, Contraception Journal

Editorial Board Member, American Journal of Sexuality Education

Editorial Board Member, Sex Education Journal

Douglas Kirby Award for Research - Association of Planned Parenthood Leaders in Education (2018) - The Douglas Kirby Award for Research honors a researcher for their contribution to the improvement of health of the people.

Golden APPLE Award for Outstanding Leadership - Association of Planned Parenthood Leaders in Education (2011) - The Golden APPLE Award for Outstanding Leadership recognizes awardees outstanding work for Association of Planned Parenthood Leaders in Education.

Early Career Award for Excellence, Population, Family Planning and Reproductive Health Section - American Public Health Association (2003) - The APHA Award for Excellence is given each year to a living individual in recognition of his/her exceptionally meritorious contribution to the improvement of health of the people.

Jay S. Drotman Memorial Award for challenging public health practice in a creative and positive manner - American Public Health Association (1996) - The Jay S. Drotman Memorial Award was established to recognize the career of a promising young public health professional or student.

Social Media & Websites
Twitter: https://twitter.com/lesliekantor