Kristina Piorkowski is a PhD candidate in the Department of Economics at the University of New Mexico and a Doctoral Fellow with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico. She earned her Master’s degree in Economics in spring of 2015 and obtained her Bachelors in Economics in 2013, also at the University of New Mexico. Her undergraduate honors thesis focused on rural health in Nepal, specifically on the factors affecting birthing location decisions. Her interest in health equity issues began in high school when she decided she wanted to be a medical doctor to provide care to underserved populations. After discovering she had a squeamish stomach and, eventually, a passion for economics, she decided to use her research in health economics as a tool to analyze and inform policy to eliminate health disparities.
In 2010 the CDC announced six “winnable battles” in public health, including tobacco use, obesity, and teen pregnancy. Five of what has grown to now seven battles concern attempting to alter behavioral patterns. In order to achieve these goals, detailed research is required on understudied segments of the U.S. population. Kristina’s research focuses on filling the gap in the literature about why women engage in risky health behaviors, how these behaviors are influenced by structural factors, and why they do or do not respond to canonical economic incentives and policies. This research will contribute to the field of health economics with implications for feminist economics and public policy.