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About Me & Research Interests

About SKG

I am launching my career as a public health researcher informed by 18 years as working with difficult to reach and vulnerable youth in Austin, Texas and NYC. I began my career as an Americorps volunteer in Austin, TX serving run away and throw away youth. The population shifted from  being largely LGBTQ youth to being primarily drug-using and drug abusing, though they were not mutually exclusive.

This experience was extremely formative. I was only 17 years old myself when I was in this role, and I learned about health education, peer education specifically with hidden populations, community health, partnerships, and working with participants to formulate programming. These lessons I drew from later as I earned a MPH and then worked running peer education and other (mainly) HIV prevention programs in areas most infected/affected in NYC – namely, in the South Bronx, Central and South Brooklyn, and in East Harlem (there are more, but those are the main one’s). Most of this work is with young people of color from 14-18 years old.

I’m now a public health consultant working for the Ford Foundation essentially as a GRA providing background pieces for the Sexuality Reproductive Health and Human Rights Division and for Voces Latinas as their evaluator.

Outside public health, I enjoy martial arts and triathalons.

Research Interests

So we know that teens are really interested in social media (esp. Facebook) [Pew, Rand, and Kaiser Family Foundation all have research indicating this] but there is a dearth of data that captures how young people (I’m interested in youth 16-24 years old) utilize mobile and social media (esp. Facebook) to communicate about sexual and reproductive health (including sexuality as well as sexual health outcomes).

And, we know that negative sexual and reproductive  health (SRH) outcomes persist especially among young people of color in urban areas. These are all key interests of mine.

My Project for this class

In theory, I would love for this project to fit as a component of my dissertation but for the moment, what that will be or look like is fuzzy – and that’s ok.

One idea I do have is to develop a web-based or app mechanism to allow youth to rate their experiences with different agencies and clinics (think yelp). I know of 1 agency that tried to launch something similar, but I’m not sure what came of it.

A second idea that interests me is the dilemma of counting/ monitoring and evaluation of social media interactions. One idea I had was to conduct a qualitative analysis of people’s public Facebook walls that meet certain criterion including conversations around SRH. I’m not sure how to handle this from a quantitative approach.


Looking forward to continuing the conversation…

Posted in Motivations.

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3 Responses

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  1. Sonia K. González says

    Michael, I was able to look at Yelp’s Terms of Service ( and found this:
    To access or use the Site, you must be 18 years or older and have the requisite power and authority to enter into these Terms. You may not access or use the Site if you are a competitor of ours or if we have previously banned you from the Site or closed your account.

  2. Michael Mandiberg (they/them) says

    These are both interesting projects. Re: the app/yelp approach, I would encourage you (as per convo in class) to explore Yelp’s rules to see if minors can rank, and to find the failed project to learn from.

    Re: quantitative approaches to evaluating social media you might start with Eszter Hargittai’s work and danah boyd’s work

  3. Amy says

    Love the app idea. Would Yelp itself not be a platform that could be promoted, since they include health services? I’m curious to hear more about the second idea … what are you interested in monitoring (frequency, topic, social networks, etc)? I wonder if you could spin off of some of those apps that summarize your month’s statuses — but create one based on your criteria and include the conversations between people — and do some sort of meta analysis?

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