Phylicia Bediako, PhD

Phylicia Bediako, PhD is dedicated to effectively supporting people of multiple marginalized identities as they heal, mobilize, and empower themselves in oppressive social contexts around the world. She received her dual-title doctorate degree in Health Policy and Administration and Demography from the Pennsylvania State University. As a PhD student, her work focused on systems-level and cross-sectoral collaborative approaches for addressing disparities in sexual and reproductive health and maternal and child health. Her dissertation used quantitative and systems thinking approaches to investigate sexual decision-making and HIV/AIDS risk for socially disadvantaged youth in South Africa. Phylicia received additional research and behavioral health training through a postdoctoral fellowship in the NIDA-funded Behavioral Sciences Training program (NIDA 5T32 DA07233) at New York University. As a postdoc, her research focused on the role of substance use and misuse in sexual decision-making, sexual violence, and sex trading for marginalized youth in the US and sub-Saharan Africa. Part of this work explored issues related to body autonomy, agency, empowerment and resilience in the context of sexual exploitation and exchange for historically disenfranchised groups. She holds a Master of Social Work with a concentration in Violence and Injury Prevention from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis where she studied systems of oppression, cycles of trauma and interpersonal violence, and strategies for using research to enhance community development practice and activism. She also explored systems-level strategies for addressing public health and social issues that stem from community and historical trauma. Phylicia’s future work will focus on uplifting and centering the voices, wisdom, and knowledge of survivors of multiple layers and forms of trauma (e.g., acute, complex, historical) as they heal and break cycles of violence and oppression for themselves and their communities.