Dr. Aletha Y. Akers joined the Guttmacher Institute in May 2020 as the Institute’s Vice President for Research. Dr. Akers leads the Institute’s talented and widely respected team of scientists as they carry out rigorous, innovative and timely research to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights in the United States and globally.
Dr. Akers brings 20 years of experience conducting policy-relevant research on a range of sexual and reproductive health issues, and leading teams of scientists in both academic and medical settings. She has authored more than 70 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters in the fields of medicine, public health and social sciences. Her research, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other sources, has focused on family communication about sex, disparities in reproductive health services, and evaluation and implementation of interventions to improve reproductive health outcomes for adolescents.
Dr. Akers joins the Guttmacher Institute from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), where she was the inaugural director of gynecologic services, Associate Professor in the Craig-Dalsimer Division of Adolescent Medicine, senior faculty in the Center for Pediatric Clinical Effectiveness and PolicyLab (a center for children’s health policy research) and faculty in the Center for Global Health. At CHOP, she founded and directed a complex family planning clinic that provides young women with comprehensive contraceptive services and trains pediatric health providers to offer the full range of contraceptive options. She is a member of a number of professional associations, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Society of Family Planning, the North American Society of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology and the Society of Adolescent Health and Medicine.
Previously, Dr. Akers was Assistant Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh and Assistant Investigator at the Magee-Womens Research Institute and the Magee-RAND Women’s Health Initiative. She has worked as a consultant for the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health and at the World Health Organization’s Quality of Care and Technologies Office. She has served on the Data Safety and Monitoring Board for NIH–funded studies and on grant review committees for NIH, the U.S. Veterans Administration and the Centers for Disease Control. She is on the board of Women’s Way, a Philadelphia-based organization dedicated to the advancement of women, girls and gender equality. Dr. Akers lectures extensively for community organizations and outreach programs on adolescent sexual and reproductive health and family communication about sexuality health.
Dr. Akers received her MD from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and her MPH from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; she completed her residency at the University of Michigan. While at the University of North Carolina, Dr. Akers completed the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program, a health services research fellowship.