Marni Sommer, DrPH



Marni Sommer, DrPH, MSN, RN, is an assistant professor of Sociomedical Sciences (SMS), SMS Global Health Certificate Lead and Executive Editor of ‘Global Public Health’ at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

Dr. Sommer has worked in global health and development on issues ranging from improving access to essential medicines to humanitarian relief in conflict settings. Dr. Sommer’s particular areas of expertise include conducting participatory research with adolescents, understanding and promoting healthy transitions to adulthood, the intersection of public health and education, gender and sexual health, and the implementation and evaluation of adolescent-focused interventions. Her doctoral research explored girls’ experiences of menstruation, puberty and schooling in Tanzania, and the ways in which the onset of puberty might be disrupting girls’ academic performance and healthy transition to adulthood.

Dr. Sommer’s current research focuses on the intersections of gender, health and education for girls and boys transitioning into adulthood in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. She is the Executive Director of Grow and Know, Inc. whose mission is to empower young girls and boys through the rich guidance that young people can gain from reading a story aimed directly at their growing up experience; and the empowering feelings that come from learning privately through reading and sharing a book with friends and family. Dr. Sommer’s initial research with girls in Tanzania formed the basis of the original book project. At 50 cents a copy, the girl’s book is far less expensive than the cost of delivering a single vaccine – yet confers lasting health and social benefits to the girls and their future families.

For more information on Dr. Sommer’s specific projects please visit her Columbia page.

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Angela Brugioni