Deepthi Varma, PhD, MPhil, MSW
Director, PhD in Epidemiology Program
Dr. Varma received her doctoral degree in Psychiatric Social Work at National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bangalore, India. She was also a Fogarty Fellow with the Epidemiology and Prevention Research Group in the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis, where she received extensive training in Psychiatric Epidemiology. Her research studies include HIV/AIDS prevention interventions among women, mental health correlates of intimate partner violence, and on the perceived need for HIV prevention interventions among drug abusing female offenders. Dr. Varma has considerable field experience in rural India specifically working with women on their reproductive health. She served as a Program Officer for three years in the Reproductive Health division at Population Council, New Delhi. India. While, at the Council her project involved conducting a large epidemiological study on women, men and health care providers to assess the demand and practices to improve reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health and nutrition outcomes in rural India funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Her work specifically focused on assessing the status of institutional delivery, access to emergency obstetric care and post-natal care for mother and newborn among rural women and providing recommendations to design effective behavior change communication strategies. She was also involved in a multi-country study on understanding the provider beliefs, attitudes and practices concerning emergency contraception funded by International Consortium on Emergency Contraception. Dr. Varma is also actively involved in the recruitment, training and supervision of Community Health Workers at HealthStreet- the community engagement initiative at UF. Dr. Varma was recently awarded the International Research Travel Grant by University of Florida International Center (UFIC) to plan a mHealth research project for pregnant women in Haiti in collaboration with local experts. Her current projects include testing the effectiveness of text messaging and reminder calls to increase use of service referrals by HealthStreet participants (Role: PI) and exploring trust in community-academic research partnerships via concept mapping (Role: Co-I).