Researcher Spotlight: Kumi Smith

The CGHSR Researcher Spotlight features global health researchers from the University of Minnesota and its partner sites.

UMN Researcher: Kumi Smith, Assistant Professor, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health
Research Site: Guangzhou, China; Nanning, China
Link to Map Entry: China

Dr. Kumi Smith is an available mentor for the CGHSR Scholars Program. In our third researcher spotlight, she answers a few of our questions on her HIV and STI research in China and what she looks for in a mentee.

Q: What do you study?

A: Our group studies the HIV and STI epidemics in China. We work with local health departments and community based organizations to improve health outcomes and identify effective prevention strategies. Much of our work focuses on improving patient-provider interactions by focusing on issues such as medical mistrust and healthcare stigma.

Q: Why do you think this research is important?

A: Our group is motivated by the belief that all are deserving of a healthy, happy sex life regardless of their region, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, or gender expression.

Q: Where do you conduct research?

A: Guangzhou, China; Nanning, China

Q: Why do you conduct research at international sites instead of in Minnesota?

A: Research anywhere is important! But China's growing STI epidemic, large population size, and rapid pace of social change make lessons from this setting particularly valuable for improving sexual health in low and middle income settings.

Research Group

Q: What are examples of past student involvement in your research?

A: Our research site in Guangzhou is part of a partnership between the University of North Carolina and the Southern Medical University. Since 2014 it has hosted numerous graduate, postdoc, and medical students for summer projects or year-long fellowships. This past summer two UMN masters students in public health conducted formative research to inform design of a new sexual health intervention.

Q: Who are your international collaborators and will they act as mentors to any student trainees or research assistants?

A: We work closely with HIV and STD control centers of two high-prevalence provinces in southern China (Guangxi and Guandong). We also partner with local community based organizations, primarily those advocating for health related rights of sexual minority men and commercial sex workers.

Q: What do you look for in a research trainee/mentee?

A: Enthusiasm for the research, interest in health equity, strong writing skills, and fluency in Mandarin or Catonese Chinese.

If you would like your global health research to be featured in the upcoming Researcher Spotlight series, please contact CGHSR at [email protected]. 

Researcher Spotlights

Discover more about our other CGHSR Researcher Spotlights that feature global health researchers from the University of Minnesota and its partner sites.

Researcher Spotlights