Alumni Profile: Stephanie Koning

Dr. Stephanie Koning is postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University. A social epidemiologist and demographer, her primary interests are in biosocial determinants of maternal and child health; structural violence and social stress; and the health implications of migration and displacement. She has led or co-led multiple data collection projects using survey, interview, and ethnographic methods, and uses quantitative analytical techniques from biostatistics, machine learning, and quasi-experimental design. Her work focuses on global health and inequalities, particularly in North American and Southeast Asian settings.

Who did you work closely with at CDE? Do you still collaborate with anyone at the Center?

I worked most closely with Jenna Nobles and Alberto Palloni, and continue to collaborate with them both.

Were there any special projects, experiences, etc. that you participated in during your graduate training at CDE?

CDE and CDE mentors were integral throughout my PhD training. Some highlights include working closely with Jenna Nobles and Alberto Palloni on a global health research grant quantifying long-term impacts of fertility decline on human capital gains within Indonesia during their historical demographic transition. I also co-organized the first UW workshop on the Microbiome in Population Health and Social Research, hosted by CDHA. I also received invaluable mentorship throughout my dissertation research on the intergenerational impacts of migration, displacement, and violence against women at the Thai-Myanmar border.

Did your training at CDE shape your career/research path?

Absolutely. I entered my PhD training with a relatively strong background in global health, human rights, and survey research. Through CDE training and mentorship, I gained greater training in biodemography, biosocial determinants of health, and causal study design. These enhanced my ongoing research on how social inequities, structural violence, and related stress get under the skin over the life course and across generations.

What current research project you’re most excited about?

As part of my larger research agenda focused on biosocial mechanisms underlying global health inequities, I am studying how experiences of early-life adversity and stress shape intergenerational health through epigenetic pathways. This includes a current study with Northwestern colleagues assessing the impact of violence against women on intergenerational epigenetic patterns in an ongoing cohort study in the Philippines.

Do you have any grants you’re working on?

I am currently working on three funded research grants:

  1. “Understanding and Forging Women’s Empowerment & Health in a Context of Exclusion: Gendered Statelessness and Legal Precarity among Highlanders in Thailand,” Center for Global Health Equity, University of Michigan. Co-Principal Investigator.
  2. “Intergenerational Health Impacts of Interpersonal and Community-Based Violence: From Childbirth to Childbearing,” Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship (Parent F32), Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, F32 HD102152. Principal Investigator.
  3. “Early Origins of Health Disparities: Chronic Inflammation,” Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, R21 HD101757. Key Personnel.

Recent publications by Dr. Koning:

  1. Hunter, Lori M., Stephanie M. Koning, Elizabeth Fussell, Brian King, Andrea Rishworth, Alexis Merdjanoff, Raya Muttarak, Fernando Riosmena, Dan H. Simon, Emily Skop, Jamon Van Den Hoek. 2021. “Scales and Sensitivities in Climate Vulnerability, Migration, and Health.” Population and Environment 43, 61–81.
  2. Koning, Stephanie M., Amanda Flaim, Leo Baldiga, and David A. Feingold. 2021. “Legal Status as a Life Course Determinant of Health: Parent Status, Adjudication Stages, and HIV Knowledge among Highlanders in Thailand.” BMC Public Health 21, 1839.
  3. Koning, Stephanie M., Kaylee Scott, Mari Palta, James Conway. 2021. “Reproductive Health at Borders of Conflict and Instability: Human Rights Violations and Adverse Perinatal Health Outcomes at the Thai-Myanmar Border.” Conflict and Health 15(1), 1-10.
  4. McDade, Thomas, and Stephanie M. Koning. 2021. “Early Origins of Socioeconomic Inequalities in Chronic Inflammation: Evaluating the Contributions of Low Birth Weight and Short Breastfeeding.” Social Science & Medicine 269, 113592.
  5. McDade, Thomas, Jess M. Meyer, Stephanie M. Koning, and Kathleen Mullan Harris. 2021. “Body Mass and the Epidemic of Chronic Inflammation in Early Mid-Adulthood.” Social Science & Medicine 289, 114059.
  6. Polos, Jessica, Stephanie M. Koning, and Thomas W. McDade. 2021. “Do Intersecting Identities Structure Social Contexts to Influence Life Course Health? The Case of School Peer Economic Disadvantage and Obesity.” Social Science & Medicine 289, 114424.