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Sofia Jawed-Wessel, PhD, MPH
Dr. Sofia Jawed-Wessel teaches and generates new knowledge in the area of public health through scientific inquiry. Her research focuses on understanding the sexual health of women and couples as they transition into parenthood by documenting sexual behaviors, sexual function, relationship adjustment, and sexual changes during pregnancy and after childbirth. The long-term goal of her research trajectory is to understand how women’s intimate relationships are impacted by sexual and maternal objectification. Dr. Jawed-Wessel’s teachings utilize a sex-positive and pleasure inclusive approach to providing medically accurate, comprehensive sexuality education to undergraduate students as well as in the local Omaha community. She teaches graduate level courses such as Research Methods, Health Behavior Theory, and Leadership and Advocacy. Dr. Jawed-Wessel also fights for women’s rights and reproductive justice through her research and community service. She has provided expert testimony for the Nebraska Unicameral, the Nebraska School Board of Education, and the Omaha Public School Board of Education. She has successfully organized and argued in favor of comprehensive sex education in Omaha Public Schools and fights against restrictive anti-choice legislation in Nebraska.

Dr. Jawed-Wessel is an Associate Professor in the School of Health and Kinesiology at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) and the Director of the Midlands Sexual Health Research Collaborative. Dr. Jawed-Wessel also holds a joint appointment with the Women and Gender Studies program at UNO and a courtesy appointment in the College of Public Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Dr. Jawed-Wessel holds both a Master of Science in Public Health (MPH) degree and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Health Behavior from the School of Public Health at Indiana University Bloomington.

Dr. Jawed-Wessel is a 2017 Ten Outstanding Young Omahans recipient as well as a 2017 Tribute to Women Honoree. She also received the 2017 UNO Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women Outstanding Achievement Award and the 2015 Mary Anne Lamanna Excellence in Women and Gender Studies Award. She recently earned “Best Senior Research Poster” for her work discussing the the role of attitudes, sexual behavior patterns, and gender on sexual satisfaction among pregnant couples at the 2017 International Academy of Sex Research Annual Meeting. Her 2016 TEDxOmaha talk “The lies we tell pregnant women” was promoted by TED.com and has being viewed over 3 million times across all platforms.