Worthen, Miranda E

Worthen, Miranda E

Professor, Public Health & Recreation


Preferred: miranda.worthen@sjsu.edu


Preferred: (408) 924-2977

Please email me instead.


  • Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley

  • M.Phil. Oxford University

  • B.A. Harvard University


Pronouns I use: she, her, hers.

I am a Professor at San José State University and serve as the Research Coordinator of the SJSU Human Rights Institute. I teach epidemiology courses, qualitative research methods, and global health. My research focus is at the intersection of public health and social justice and I use mixed-methods participatory action research approaches.

My current projects include a collaboration with the San Francisco Fire Department Community Paramedicine Division supported by the National Science Foundation, and ongoing student-partnered work to examine disparities in college student experiences from a student-centered perspective.

Past projects include:

The People's Budget of San José, a research partnership between Sacred Heart Community Services and the Human Rights Institute to understand how residents perceive community safety. This study informed the city's Reimagining Public Safety Community Advisory Board. Several Public Health undergraduate interns have been critical to the success of this multi-disciplinary, mixed methods study.

Work with former students Justin Menchaca and Michelle Laine on an intersectional approach to understanding depression in college students.

The COVID-19 Inequities Study, which grew out of a course-based undergraduate research experience in our introduction to epidemiology class. Check out our team's recent paper A participatory study of college students’ mental health during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic and our blog: Wellness During COVID-19.

Prior to beginning at San José State, I was the Co-PI on a participatory action research study with young mothers in West Africa who had been child soldiers. That work has been widely cited, including in the UNICEF Paris Principles. My article describing methodological innovations from this study, "The transformative and emancipatory potential of participatory evaluation: reflections from a participatory action research study with war-affected young mothers" won the Sanjaya Lall Prize from Oxford Development Studies. I also directed a mixed-methods study aimed at understanding reintegration challenges for U.S. Veterans.

I also have written several articles about my experiences living with an unreliable body. I was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder at birth and have experienced periods of disability throughout my life. You can view a video abstract for my article "The Solace of an Uncertain Future" and find a link to this article and several other articles at my ScholarWorks page.