Associate Professor & Program Director, Epidemiology
Epidemiology and Biostatistics Department
Kacey C. Ernst, PhD MPH joined the faculty in 2008 as an infectious disease epidemiologist. Her primary projects examine the environmental determinants of vector-borne disease transmission and control; primarily dengue and malaria. Current research projects include an examination of insecticide treated bednet use in western Kenya. Comparisons between determinants of use and effectiveness in highland and lowland areas are underway. She is also working with investigators in entomology to examine the role of Ae. aegypti population dynamics in the potential expansion of dengue from northern Mexico to southern Arizona under climate change scenarios.
Locally, Dr. Ernst takes an active role in working with the local health departments to examine questions related to vaccine preventable diseases. Her work seeks to understand the reasons behind increasing vaccination exemption rates in Arizona and the development of programs to increase vaccination uptake.
2006 - PhD Epidemiology - University of Michigan
2001 - MPH Epidemiology - University of Michigan
1997 - B.A. Chemistry/ Biology - Lawrence University
As an infectious disease epidemiologist, my research focuses on the nexus of humans, disease vectors, and environment. My work spans from conducting field investigations to better understand the social and environmental determinants of current and future arboviral transmission to improving community capacity to respond to and control mosquito-borne diseases. I am particularly interested in working with interdisciplinary teams to develop short and long term forecasts under changing weather and climate conditions. Many of my projects also seek to understand community members’ willingness and investment in prevention and control strategies. This has ranged from identifying strategies to better engage women in vector control in Indonesia and Kenya, working with rural communities in Kenya to band promoters of bed net use, and developing a mobile community-based surveillance application, Kidenga. My work uses a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods. I also have a background in investigating why individuals choose to exempt their children from vaccination in Arizona specifically. I am part of the 2017 cohort of AAAS Leshner fellows for public engagement to translate science to motivate action in the public domain.