I am currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at UCSB, and a research associate with the Broom Center for Demography. I came to UCSB in 2014 from the University of Washington, where I was an Assistant Professor in Epidemiology & Global Health. I made the move from Seattle to Santa Barbara once before, as I was born and raised in Seattle but attended UCSB for my undergraduate degree. (I was a math major, with a minor in music). My academic trajectory began during my time as an undergrad at UCSB. Through the UC Education Abroad Program, I lived and studied in Indonesia for a year, which really opened my eyes to global issues in population and health. I decided to pursue a Ph.D. in Demography from Princeton, and a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Washington. My research, on migration and health, draws from these experiences and academic training. I am so pleased to now live and work in Santa Barbara. When I’m not at the office, I can be found at the beach, swimming, or generally being active with my family.
I study and teach topics related to health geography, demography, and infectious disease epidemiology. The central focus of my research is on geographic mobility, sexual health, and HIV prevention. I study social and behavioral determinants of HIV transmission dynamics – or in other words how and why certain people are more susceptible to HIV, and how, where, and why HIV spreads to other people. Most often, I examine how migration and human mobility is associated with HIV transmission. This entails analyzing mobile individuals’ sexual behavior and risk of acquiring HIV, and how different social and physical environments influence that risk. I also am interested in how human mobility connects different sexual networks and thus influences HIV transmission across populations. Lastly, I use mathematical models to explore the importance of social and behavioral determinants in HIV transmission dynamics. These models answer hypothetical “what if” questions to help policymakers decide how to implement HIV interventions.
Cassels S, Jenness SM, Biney AAE, Ampofo WK, Dodoo FN. (2014) “Migration, sexual networks, and HIV in Agbogbloshie, Ghana.” Demographic Research 31: 861-888. (PMCID: PMC4214381)
Cassels S, Jenness SM, Khanna A. (2014) “Conceptual Framework and Research Methods for Migration and HIV Transmission Dynamics.” AIDS & Behavior 18(12): 2302-2313.
Cassels S, Jenness SM, Biney AAE, Dodoo FN. (2017) “Geographic mobility and potential bridging for sexually transmitted infections in Agbogbloshie, Ghana.” Social Science & Medicine 184: 27-39.
Camlin C, Cassels S, Seeley J. (2018) “Editorial: Bringing population mobility into focus to achieve HIV prevention goals.” JIAS: Journal of the International AIDS Society 21(S4):e25136.
Cassels S, Jenness SM, Biney AAE. (2019) “Coital frequency and male concurrent partnerships during pregnancy and postpartum in Agbogbloshie, Ghana.” AIDS and Behavior: 23(6): 1508-1517 (PMCID: PMC6536330)
Cassels S. (2020) “Time, population mobility, and HIV transmission.” The Lancet HIV: 7(3): e151-e152. (PMCID: PMC7167507)
Lee J, Cassels S. (2020) “Immigrant generational differences in social support and sexual risk behaviors among men who have sex with men in Seattle, Washington.” AIDS Education and Prevention 32(4): 282-295.
Cassels S, Meltzer D, Loustalot C, Ragsdale A, Shoptaw S, Gorbach PM. (2020). “Geographic mobility, place attachment, and the changing geography of sex among African American and Latinx MSM who use substances in Los Angeles.” Journal of Urban Health 97(5):609-622
Cassels S, Mwenda KM, Biney AAE, Jenness SM. (2020). “Is it the timing? Short-term mobility and coital frequency in Agbogbloshie, Ghana.” Archives of Sexual Behavior.