Sydney A. Spangler

Sydney A. Spangler

Associate Professor, clinical track


Dr. Spangler is an Associate Professor, clinical track, at the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, with a secondary joint appointment in the Department of Global Health at Rollins School of Public Health. Dr. Spangler completed doctoral training in Maternal and Child Health with a minor in Anthropology from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2009. She then obtained postdoctoral training in the Department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Spangler received her MSN (with Certificate in Nurse Midwifery) from the University of Utah in 1999, and her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing and Bachelors of Science in Anthropology from the University of Utah in 1997 and 1996, respectively.

Areas of Expertise

Global Health
Health Disparities
Maternal And Infant Health Midwifery
Public Health Public Health Nursing
Vulnerable Populations
Womens Health


Spangler, S.A., Onono, M., Bukusi, E.A., Cohen, C.R., & Turan, J.M. (2014). HIV-positive status disclosure and women’s use of essential PMTCT and maternal health services in rural Kenya. Journal of Immune Deficiency Syndromes (JAIDS), 67:S234-41. doi:10.1097/QAI.0000000000000381

Spangler, S.A., Barry, D., & Sibley, L. (2014). An evaluation of equitable access to a community-based maternal and newborn health program in rural Ethiopia. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health, 59:S101-9. doi:10.111/jmwh.12133

Spangler, S.A. (2011). “To open oneself is a poor woman’s trouble:” embodied inequality and childbirth in south-central Tanzania. Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 25:479-98. doi:10.1111/j.1548-1387.2011.01181.x

Spangler, S.A., & Bloom, S.S. (2010). Use of biomedical obstetric care in south-central Tanzania: the role of social and material inequalities. Social Science & Medicine, 71:760-8. doi:0.0106/j.socscimed.2010.05.025


Dr. Spangler teaches graduate-level courses that involve disparities in women's health, medical anthropology, qualitative research methods, and clinical midwifery. She also teaches about the importance of understanding culture for the practice of public health at RSPH (Department of Global Health). Across this portfolio, Dr. Spangler is strongly committed to conveying respect for all students, demonstrating a passion for the material presented, considering specific content from different perspectives, and continuously facilitating participation in the learning process for everyone involved – herself included. Accommodating diverse learning styles is a critical part of this process, which she has found can be achieved though a combination of active learning strategies coupled with reflexivity tools that integrate didactic material with experiences gained in real-world settings.


Dr. Spangler's overarching research interest involves women’s access to reproductive health care in low-income contexts; more specifically the influence of social and material inequalities on demand for and use of reproductive health services (maternal, PMTCT/HIV, and contraceptive). She has worked on a variety of Gates Foundation and NIH sponsored research that address different aspects of this critical problem. Most recently, Dr. Spangler is working to understand relationships between resistance to HIV stigma, HIV+ status disclosure, and engagement in PMTCT/HIV care among pregnant women living with HIV in East Africa. Her methodological expertise is in qualitative and mixed methods research.

In addition to traditional research, Dr. Spangler also works on projects that aim to achieve sustainable capacity building in health systems. For example, She led monitoring and evaluation for the African Health Professionals Regional Collaborative (ARC), an Emory-CDC collaboration that sought to strengthen the ability of national nurse and midwife leaders across 15 sub-Saharan African countries to improve the quality of nurse/midwife-led PMTCT services in high-HIV burden health facilities. She also leads a project that works in partnership with the local Ministry of Health in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala, to engage MSN midwifery students in a reciprocal training program with comadronas (indigenous birth attendants). Finally, she is co-leading a five-year project that aims to improve capacity in quality of services and research competency at Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.