Jenny Higgins

Position title: Professor, Gender & Women's Studies


Phone: (608) 890-4622

3414 Sterling Hall
475 N. Charter Street

Department of Gender and Women's Studies
More information
Curriculum Vitae


I have considerable research experience that places me in a unique and well-qualified position to serve as an investigator and Executive Committee member in the Center for Demography and Ecology. My research focuses on fertility, contraceptive use, and sexual and reproductive health, especially among under-resourced communities; my research is related to CDE’s primary research areas of Fertility, Families and Households; Demography of Inequality; and Health and the Life Course. My education involves graduate training in gender studies and public health (Emory University), postdoctoral training in HIV and sexuality (Columbia University, NIMH training grant T32 MH19139), and a postdoctoral fellowship in contraceptive technology (Princeton University, Office of Population Research).

I am currently an Associate Professor in both Gender Studies and Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I was an NIH K Scholar in Women’s Health Disparities (K12 HD055894). I have also served on the Board of Directors at the Guttmacher Institute, one of the family planning field’s premiere research and policy organizations. I have conducted a large number of qualitative and quantitative studies of gender, sexuality, and contraceptive practices, as well as how those practices influence unintended pregnancy and exposure to STIs/HIV. Both secondary data analyses and primary data collection inform these prior projects, and over 45 peer reviewed publications share results from these analyses. My three current areas of research are threefold. First, I serve as PI of four-year investigation of the sexual acceptability of contraception among over 3,000 new-start contraceptive users at four family planning clinics. (NICHD 1R01HD095661-01). Second, I am co-PI on a study of sexual minority women’s contraceptive use (Society for Family Planning Research Fund (SFPRF11-II3). This latter project helps document why sexual minority women have an elevated risk of unwanted pregnancy compared to their heterosexual peers. Third, I am PI of a large planning grant to build more research relating to reproductive health at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (anonymous donor). In all of these projects, I collaborate closely with CDE faculty and trainees.

CDE research theme area affiliations

Demography of Inequality; Fertility, Families, and Households; Health and the Life Course

Selected Publications

Zeal, Carley, Jennifer A. Higgins, and Shaunna R. Newton. “Patient-Perceived Autonomy and Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptive Use: A Qualitative Assessment in a Midwestern, University Community.” BioResearch Open Access 7, no. 1 (2018): 25-32. PubMed Central ID 5868328.

Kramer, Renee, Jennifer A. Higgins, Amy Godecker, and Deborah Ehrenthal. “Racial and Ethnic Differences in Patterns of Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptive Use in the United States.” Contraception 97, no. 5 (2018): 399-404.

Stoffel, Cynthia, Emma Carpenter, Bethany Everett, Jennifer A. Higgins, and Sadia Haider. “Family Planning for Sexual Minority Women.” Seminars in Reproductive Medicine 35, no. 5 (2017): 460-68. PubMed Central ID 5995339.

Mullinax, Margo, Stephanie Sanders, Barbara Dennis, Jennifer A. Higgins, J. Dennis Fortenberry, and Michael Reece. “How Condom Discontinuation Occurs: Interviews with Emerging Adult Women.” Journal of Sex Research 54, no. 4-5 (2017): 642-50. PubMed Central ID 5026563.

Higgins, Jennifer A. “Pregnancy Ambivalence and Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptive (Larc) Use among Young Adult Women: A Qualitative Study.” Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health 49, no. 3 (2017): 149-56. PubMed Central ID 5597464.

Aiken, Abigail, Yu Wang, Jennifer A. Higgins, and James Trussell. “Similarities and Differences in Contraceptive Use Reported by Women and Men in the National Survey of Family Growth.” Contraception 95, no. 4 (2017): 419-23. PubMed Central ID PMC5376522.

Mullinax, Margo, Stephanie Sanders, Barbara Dennis, Jennifer A. Higgins, Michael Reece, and J. Dennis Fortenberry. “Establishment of Safety Paradigms and Trust in Emerging Adult Relationships.” Culture, Health, and Sexuality 18, no. 8 (2016): 890-904. PubMed Central ID PMC4914442.

Mathur, Sanyukta, Jennifer A. Higgins, Nittanjali Thummalachetty, Mariko Rasmussen, Laura Kelley, Neema Nakyanjo, Fred Nalugoda, and John S. Santelli. “Fatherhood, Marriage and Hiv Risk among Young Men in Rural Uganda.” Culture Health & Sexuality 18, no. 5 (2016): 538-52. PubMed Central ID 4897968.

Higgins, Jennifer A., Renee D. Kramer, and Kristin M. Ryder. “Provider Bias in Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (Larc) Promotion and Removal: Perceptions of Young Adult Women.” American Journal of Public Health 106, no. 11 (2016): 1932-37. PubMed Central ID 5055778.

Higgins, Jennifer A., and Nicole K. Smith. “The Sexual Acceptability of Contraception: Reviewing the Literature and Building a New Concept.” Journal of Sex Research 53, no. 4-5 (2016): 417-56. PubMed Central ID 4868075.

Higgins, Jennifer A., and Yu Wang. “The Role of Young Adults’ Pleasure Attitudes in Shaping Condom Use.” American Journal of Public Health 105, no. 7 (2015): 1329-32. PubMed Central ID 4458205.

Higgins, Jennifer A., Kristin Ryder, Grace Skarda, Erica Koepsel, and Eliza A. Bennett. “The Sexual Acceptability of Intrauterine Contraception: A Qualitative Study of Young Adult Women.” Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health 47, no. 3 (2015): 114-21. PubMed Central ID 4573918.

Higgins, Jennifer A. “Celebration Meets Caution: Larc’s Boons, Potential Busts, and the Benefits of a Reproductive Justice Approach.” Contraception 89, no. 4 (2014): 237-41. PubMed Central ID 4251590.

Higgins, Jennifer A., Nicole K. Smith, Stephanie A. Sanders, Vanessa Schick, Debby Herbenick, Michael Reece, Brian Dodge, and J. Dennis Fortenberry. “Dual Method Use at Last Sexual Encounter: A Nationally Representative, Episode-Level Analysis of Us Men and Women Prepared for Resubmission to Contraception.” Contraception 90, no. 4 (2014): 399-406. PubMed Central ID 4155004.

Higgins, Jennifer A., Sanyukta Mathur, Elizabeth Eckel, Laura Kelly, Neema Nakyanjo, Richard Sekamwa, Josephine Namatovu, et al. “Importance of Relationship Context in Hiv Transmission: Results from a Qualitative Case-Control Study in Rakai, Uganda.” American Journal of Public Health 104, no. 4 (2014): 612-20. PubMed Central ID PMC4025686.

Jones, Rachel K., Laura D. Lindberg, and Jennifer A. Higgins. “Pull and Pray or Extra Protection ? Contraceptive Strategies Involving Withdrawal among Us Adult Women.” Contraception 90, no. 4 (2014): 416-21. PubMed Central ID 4254803

Higgins, Jennifer A., Laura Gregor, Sanyukta Mathur, Neema Nakyanjo, Fred Nalugoda, and John S. Santelli. “Use of Withdrawal (Coitus Interruptus) for Both Pregnancy and Hiv Prevention among Young Adults in Rakai, Uganda.” Journal of Sexual Medicine 11, no. 10 (2014): 2421-27. PubMed Central ID 4025983.