Barbara Mensch is a social scientist who conducts research on a wide range of topics related to HIV prevention and transitions to adulthood. She is a co-author of The Uncharted Passage: Girls’ Adolescence in the Developing World, a publication that galvanized the field of programs and policies to generate more comprehensive information on and improve the lives of adolescent girls. She was a member of the National Academy of Sciences Panel on Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries, whose influential report, Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in the Developing World, provided a theoretical framework for thinking about adolescence in an era of globalization. Earlier at the Council, she conducted research assessing the quality of care provided by reproductive health and family planning programs.
Before joining the Council 1990, Mensch was an assistant professor of clinical public health at Columbia University, where she investigated adolescent pregnancy and drug use in the United States. Mensch chairs the Microbicide Trials Network’s behavioral research working group and is a member of the Network’s executive committee. She is a member of the editorial committee of the Council’s peer-reviewed journal Studies in Family Planning. She also belongs to and is a past board member of the Population Association of America (PAA) and is a member of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP).
Mensch received a BA in history from Wellesley College, a BA and MA in social and political sciences from Cambridge University, and an MA and PhD in sociology and demography from Princeton University.