Marisa Westbrook
Graduate Student • Fall 2017 Cohort
Health and Behavioral Sciences

Marisa Westbrook is a PhD candidate in Health and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Colorado Denver. Her research interests include inequality, mental health, urban politics, housing and displacement. Her ethnographic dissertation project examines the embodied experiences of housing insecurity in changing neighborhoods, drawing on 2-years of following Denver Latinx residents facing displacement pressure and tracking coalition and city-sponsored housing and anti-displacement policy development. Her current community-engaged work also includes following the impact of state-led neighborhood transitions on residents (highway expansion, public housing redevelopment), and documenting the impacts of unconditional cash transfers on the health of homeless populations. She has published on issues related to the criminalization of homelessness, food insecurity, substance use, and health care access in outlets including Journal of Adolescent Health, Journal of Social Distress & Homelessness, and Geoforum. She holds an MPH in Health and Social Behavior from the University of California Berkeley and a BA in International Affairs from George Washington University.


MPH, 2017, University of California Berkeley (Health and Social Behavior, specialty area in Multicultural Health)

BA, 2012, George Washington University (International Affairs)

Westbrook, M, Harvey, M. Framing Health, Behavior, and Society: A Critical Content Analysis of Public Health Social and Behavioral Science Textbooks. Critical Public Health. (Forthcoming)

Westbrook, M, Martinez, L, Mechergui, S, Scandlyn, J, Yeatman, S. (2021). Contraceptive Access through School-Based Health Centers: Perceptions of Rural and Suburban Emerging Adults. Health Promotion Practice, 23(3), 425-431.  

Bruckner, H, Westbrook, M, Loberg, L, Teig, E, Schaefbauer, C. (2021). “Free” Food with a Side of Shame? Combating Stigma in Emergency Food Assistance Programs in the Quest for Food Justice. Geoforum, 123, 99-106.

Westbrook, M, Martinez, L, Mechergui, S, Yeatman, S. (2020). The Influence of School-Based Health Center Access on High School Graduation: Evidence from Colorado. The Journal of Adolescent Health, 67(3), 447-449.  

Westbrook, M, Robinson, T. (2020). Unhealthy by Design: Health and Safety Consequences of the Criminalization of Homelessness. Journal of Social Distress in the Homeless, 30(2), 107-115.

Yu, K, Westbrook, M, Brodie, S, Lisker, S, Vittinghoff, E, Hua, V, Russell, M, Sarkar, U. (2020). Gaps in Treatment and Surveillance: Head & Neck Cancer Care in a Safety-Net Hospital. OTO Open, 4(1), 1-7.

Lyles C, Handley, M, Ackerman, S, Schillinger, D, Williams, P, Westbrook, M, Gourley, G, Sarkar, U. (2018). Innovative Implementation Studies Conducted in US Safety Net Health Care Settings: A Systematic Review. Journal for Healthcare Quality, 34(3), 293-306.

Cherian, R, Westbrook, M, Ramo, D, Sarkar, U. (2018). Representations of Codeine Misuse on Instagram: Content Analysis. JMIR Public Health and Surveillance, 4(1), e22.

PBHL 1001: Race, Gender, Class, and Health (instructor)

PBHL 2001: Introduction to Public Health (teaching assistant)

PBHL 3030: Health Policy (teaching assistant)

PBHL 4021: Community Health Assessment (instructor)

Research Fellowship, 2021-22

Outstanding PhD Student Award, 2020-21

Research Fellowship, 2020-21

Teaching Fellowship, 2020-21

Summer Research Award, 2020

Outstanding Student Research Award, 2019-20

Outstanding Student Teaching Award, 2018-19

Fellowship Award, 2018