Yale University

Jean J. Schensul, Ph.D.

  • Senior Scientist and Founder, Institute for Community Research


Dr. Schensul is founder (1987-2004) and currently senior scientist full time, at The Institute for Community Research, an independent research institute conducting prevention research in communities in the United States, India and China, and based in Hartford, CT. She is a medical anthropologist with three decades of experience in the conduct of HIV prevention and other health-related research in urban areas of the United States and in developing countries. Her areas of expertise include mixed research methods, drug research, sexuality and HIV, and school and community based structural approaches to intervention across the lifespan. In 2006-7 she was professor in residence at UCLA teaching research methods in the Graduate School of Education. Her recent publications include The Ethnographer's Toolkit, a seven book boxed series on ethnographic research methods, published by Altamira Press, now in revision, "Applied Research Methods" (Trotter and Schensul) in the Handbook of Ethnographic Methods, edited by H. Russell Bernard, Altamira Press, and articles on community based intervention methods, adolescent sexuality, adolescent marijuana use, democratization of research, research collaborations, participatory action research. She is the senior editor of a special issue of the American Journal of Community Psychology (June 2009) on the science and practice of multilevel interventions.

Dr. Schensul is, past president of the Society for Applied Anthropology and the Council on Educational Anthropology, an organizational member of the American Anthropological Association, as well as other elected and appointed positions in the American Anthropological Association. She and Stephen Schensul are the joint recipients of the Solon T. Kimball award for application of anthropology to policy. She has founded or co-founded four successful community based health social science research institutes including the Institute for Community Research and the Hispanic Health Council and two others in Peru and Sri Lanka. She has led many federal, state and foundation funded studies and intervention projects, and since 1996 has been the principal investigator on more than twelve NIA, NIDA, NIMH and NIAAA funded HIV and substance abuse related grants totaling over $35,000,000 in research funds. Internationally she has consulted to prevention researchers in Senegal, Kenya, China, and Spain. Currently she is working with research collaborators in Mumbai India on an NIAAA funded study of drinking and sexual risk among young men and an NIMH funded study of women's reproductive health and sexual risk in Mumbai.