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Central Valley Health Policy Institute

Lauren N. Lessard

Research Scientist

Lauren N. LessardLauren Lessard, PhD MPH, is a maternal and child health epidemiologist and has extensive experience developing research protocol and interventions addressing reproductive health disparities and inequities.  Her current projects include a PCORI-funded comparative effectiveness study evaluating enhanced prenatal care systems, Project EMBRACE. Dr. Lessard’s previous projects focused on coordinating with practitioners and patients to address key maternal health issues including maternal mental health; obesity and contraception use; racial and cultural humility in clinic settings; adolescent preconception health; and co-morbidities associated with preterm birth.  Dr. Lessard splits her time between Fresno, CA and Anchorage, AK and holds an Assistant Professor position at the Institute for Circumpolar Health Studies at University of Anchorage, Alaska.

Dr. Lessard completed her PhD in Public Health at UCLA and her MPH at UC Berkeley in Maternal and Child Health. Prior to completing graduate school, she was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Suriname, South America and completed her Bachelor of Arts in Political and Community Science at the University of California, Santa Cruz.  She moved to Anchorage in 2017 and in her free time enjoys back country skiing, pack rafting and hiking. 

Publication and Report Samples:

Lessard, L.N., Karasek, D., Ma, S., Darney, P., Deardorff, J., Lahiff, M., Grossman, D. and Foster, D.G., 2012. Contraceptive features preferred by women at high risk of unintended pregnancy. Perspectives on sexual and reproductive health44(3), pp.194-200.

Lessard, Lauren N., Emanuel Alcala, and John A. Capitman. "Pollution, poverty, and potentially preventable childhood morbidity in central California." The Journal of pediatrics 168 (2016): 198-204.

Lessard, Lauren Norris. Obesity and Contraception. University of California, Los Angeles, 2014.

African American Infant Mortality in Fresno County

A Report from the California Task Force on the Status of Maternal and Mental Health Care


Contact Information

Lauren N. Lessard, PhD MPH
Research Scientist
Central Valley Health Policy Institute
Email Lauren N. Lessard