Kathryn Pitkin Derose

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Adjunct Policy Researcher; Professor of Health Policy, Pardee RAND Graduate School
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Ph.D. in health services, University of California, Los Angeles; M.P.H. in population and family health, University of California, Los Angeles; B.A. in comparative area studies-latin america, Duke University

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Kathryn P. Derose is an adjunct policy researcher at the RAND Corporation and professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. She is also professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her research focuses on understanding and addressing health disparities. She has particular expertise regarding faith-based organizations, community-based participatory research, immigrants' healthcare access, Latino populations, and Latin America. Derose has served as principal investigator of several NIH-funded studies that developed multi-component interventions to address health disparities, such as church-based efforts to reduce HIV-related stigma and promote HIV testing and address obesity. Currently, she is testing an integrated urban gardens and peer nutritional counseling intervention to improve adherence to antiretroviral therapy among food insecure people living with HIV in the Dominican Republic and a multi-component church- and park-based intervention to increase physical activity among Latinos. Derose also examines Latino immigrants' health care access and quality in the United States and park-based interventions to increase physical activity. Derose is bilingual (English-Spanish), having lived and worked in Latin America for six years before seeking graduate education in public health. She is a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers beginning their independent career and is a former Fulbright Scholar to Ecuador. Derose received her Ph.D. in health services research and M.P.H. in population and family health from the University of California, Los Angeles, and her B.A. in comparative area studies, Latin America from Duke University.

Concurrent Non-RAND Positions

Professor, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Recent Projects

  • Urban Congregations' Capacity for HIV Prevention and Care
  • Multi-Ethnic Faith and Health Partnership to Reduce Health Disparities in South Los Angeles
  • Promoting Physical Activity in High Poverty Neighborhoods
  • Improving ART Adherence through Urban Gardening and Peer Nutritional Counseling in the Dominican Republic
  • Linking Churches with Parks to Increase Physical Activity among Latinos

Selected Publications

Derose et al., "The mediating role of perceived crime in gender and built environment associations with park use and park-based physical activity among park users in high poverty neighborhoods," Preventive Medicine, 2019

Derose et al., "Eat, Pray, Move: A pilot cluster randomized controlled trial of a multi-level church-based intervention to address obesity among African Americans and Latinos," American Journal of Health Promotion, 33(4), 2019

Derose et al., "Severe food insecurity is associated with overweight and increased body fat among HIV-infected patients in the Dominican Republic," AIDS Care, 30(2), 2018

Derose et al., "Effects of a pilot church-based intervention to reduce HIV stigma and promote HIV testing among African Americans and Latinos," AIDS and Behavior (forthcoming)

Derose et al., "Religious congregations’ involvement in HIV: A case study approach.," AIDS and Behavior, 2011

Derose et al., "Understanding disparities in health care access – and reducing them – through a focus on public health," Health Affairs, 2011

Derose and Varda, "Social Capital and Health Care Access: A Systematic Review," Medical Care Research and Review, 66(3), 2009

Derose et al., "Immigrants and Health Care: Sources of Vulnerability," Health Affairs, 26(5), 2007

Honors & Awards

  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, 2005, NIH
  • Best paper of the year for 2009, Medical Care Research and Review
  • Mentor of the Year 2014, RAND




  • A woman prays alone in Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church on Palm Sunday amid the COVID-19 outbreak in Worcester, Massachusetts, April 5, 2020, photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters

    The Important Role of Faith-Based Organizations in the Context of COVID-19

    Maintaining social and spiritual connections in the midst of COVID-19 are not the only challenges facing communities of faith. Congregations play critical roles in providing social services within communities. How can their services, such as food assistance, be delivered safely?

    Apr 16, 2020 The Health Care Blog

  • Adult son comforting his father who is not feeling well, photo by monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images

    The Public Charge Rule's Likely Hazard to Our Nation's Health During COVID-19

    The Public Charge rule makes immigrants who receive Medicaid and other publicly-funded benefits potentially ineligible for green cards, and, in some cases, subjects them to deportation. Fear and reluctance to seek assistance among immigrants is likely to worsen during the COVID-19 epidemic.

    Apr 6, 2020 The Hill

  • A doctor talks to a girl whose arm is in a sling

    A Threat to Immigrant Health Care with Potential Consequences for All

    The proposed changes to the “public charge” rule could jeopardize decades of progress towards improved health care access and health for immigrants and U.S. citizens. Negative effects may include worse health outcomes, increased use of emergency rooms, and increased prevalence of communicable diseases.

    Oct 12, 2018 The Hill