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Kacey Ernst Ph.D., MPH

Kacey  Ernst Ph.D., MPH

Associate Professor and Program Director, Undergraduate Programs

Epidemiology and Biostatistics Department

1295 N. Martin
Campus PO Box: 245211
Drachman Hall A246
Tucson, AZ 85724
(520) 626-7374


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


  1. Birnbaum MS, Jacobs ET, Ralston-King J, Ernst KC. Correlates of high vaccination exemption rates among kindergartens. Vaccine. 2012 Dec 13.
  2. Joy TK, Jeffrey Gutierrez EH, Ernst K, Walker KR, Carriere Y, Torabi M, Riehle MA. Aging Field Collected Aedes aegypti to Determine Their Capacity for Dengue Transmission in the Southwestern United States. PLoS One. 2012;7(10).
  3. Rolfes M, McCarra M, Magak NG, Ernst KC, Dent AE, Lindblade KA, John CC. Development of clinical and biological immunity to malaria in highland areas of very low and unstable transmission. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2012 Nov;87(5):806-12.
  4. Erhart LM, Ernst KC. The changing epidemiology of hepatitis A in Arizona following intensive immunization programs (1988-2007). Vaccine. 2012 Sep 14;30 (42):6103-10. {co-first author}
  5. Pogreba-Brown K, Ernst K, Harris R. Teaching epidemiology concepts experientially: a "real" foodborne outbreak in the classroom. Public Health Rep. 2012 Sep-Oct;127(5):549-55.
  6. Ernst KC and Dinerman M (2012) A Malaria Vaccine: Promising Results, but Not There Yet AAP Grand Rounds 2012; 27(3): 26.
  7. Ernst KC, Arora M, Munga S. Ownership and disuse of bed nets in Kenyan children under five years of age. Malaria Reports. 2 (1) February 2012.
  8. Taren, D, Tecle S, Almony C, Navarrete L, Ernst K, Menard S, Diop M, Wele A-H Growth of Children Receiving a Dehydrated Potato-Soy Protein Blend. African Journal of Food Agriculture Nutrition and Development. 11(4), 2011.
  9. Ernst KC, Pogreba-Brown K, Rasmussen L, Erhart L. The Effect of Policy Changes on Hepatitis A Vaccine Uptake in Arizona Children (1995-2008).  Public Health Reports. 2011. 126: S2.
  10. Robinson K, Ernst K, Johnson B, Rosales C. The Health Status of Southern Arizona Border Counties: A Healthy Border 2010 Midterm Review. Rev Panam Salud Publica 28(5), 2010.
  11. Cohen JM, Ernst KC, Lindblade KA, Vulule JM, John CC, Wilson ML Local topographic wetness indices predict household malaria risk better than land-use and land-cover in the western Kenya highlands. Malar J. 2010 Nov 16;9:328.
  12. Ernst KE, Lindblade, KA, Koech D, Sumba PO, Kuwuor D, John CC, Wilson ML. Environmental, socio-demographic and behavioral determinants of malaria risk in the western Kenyan highlands: a case-control study. 2009. Trop Med and Int Health. 14 (10), pp. 1258-1265.
  13. Menge DM, Ernst KC, Vulule JM, Zimmerman PA, Guo H, John CC.  Microscopy underestimates the frequency of Plasmodium falciparum infection in symptomatic individuals in a low transmission highland area. 2008. Am J Trop Med and Hyg 79 (2):173-7. {co-first author}
  14. Cohen JM, Ernst KC, Lindblade KA, Vulule JM, John CC, Wilson MLTopography, land-cover, and elevation predict areas at risk for malaria within communities in a highland region of western Kenya.  Malar J. Jan 2008 17:40.
  15. Ernst KC, Adoka SO, Kowuor DO, Wilson ML, John CC. Malaria hotspot areas in a highland Kenya site are consistent in epidemic and non-epidemic years and are associated with ecological factors. Malar J. 2006 Sep 13;5:78.

Languages Spoken:


Research Synopsis

Dr. Ernst joined the faculty of the College of Public Health in 2008. She has begun developing projects related to the epidemiology of infectious diseases with partners at Arizona Department of Health Services as well as investigators in the Departments of Geography and Biology. She also plans to continue research on the ties between environment and vector-borne diseases. Her doctoral dissertation research focused on malaria in the highlands of western Kenya. She resided in Kenya for over two years designing and administering a case-control study that examined environmental, behavioral and socio-economic determinants of malaria. Her work also included assessments of the spatial and spatio-temporal patterns of malaria cases.

Curriculum Vitae: 

The University of Arizona