Dr. Shelley Clark, McGill University

Dr. Shelley Clark is a James McGill Professor of Sociology and Director of the Centre on Population Dynamics at McGill University. She is also a National Research Affiliate of the Prentice Institute for Global Population and Economy. She directs the CFI-funded Life History, Health, and HIV/AIDS data laboratory, which aims to make data from longitudinal demographic and health surveys in developing countries more accessible.  From 2007 to 2017, she held a Canada Research Chair in Youth, Gender, and Global Health. After receiving her BA from the University of Virginia, she completed her PhD in public and international affairs at Princeton University. After receiving her Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1999, Dr. Clark served as program associate at the Population Council in New York (1999 to 2002) and as an Assistant Professor at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago (2002 to 2006). In the summer of 2006, she joined the Department of Sociology at McGill as an Associate Professor. 

Professor Clark is a demographer whose research focuses on gender, health, and life course transitions in sub-Saharan Africa. Much of her research examines how adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa make key transitions to adulthood in the midst of an on-going HIV/AIDS epidemic. In particular, her work has focused on how the transition into marriage shapes the risks of HIV/AIDS among young women in sub-Saharan Africa. She finds that for adolescent girls in many African countries, marriage does not provide a safe haven, showing instead that married adolescent girls are acutely vulnerable with respect to HIV.  Additional research demonstrates how the process of searching for and finding a suitable spouse places both adolescent boys and girls at considerable risk. Through her current collaborative project with colleagues in Kenya, Burkina Faso, and South Africa, she is exploring the implications of single motherhood on women’s poverty and children’s health over the life course. 

Dr. Clark’s findings have been published in over 20 articles in leading journals, such as Demography, Social Forces, and Journal of Marriage and Family, and presented to policy makers at influential international organizations, including the World Bank, WHO, UNFPA/UNICEF, and the Population Council.

shelley.clark@mcgill.ca

Research Interests: Social Demography; Family Dynamics; Child Well-being; HIV/AIDS; Adolescent Transitions; Life Course Methods; HIV Prevention; Marriage; Women’s Health; Sub-Saharan Africa; Kinship; Single Motherhood; Women’s Poverty.

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