Dr. Karen A. Scott, MPH, MD, FACOG (UCSF)

Assistant Adjunct Professor, Family Health Care Nursing Department

Project Director, California Birth Equity Collaborative 
Improving Care for and with Black Mothers
California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative 

Dr. Karen Scott is a board certified “recovering” Obstetrician Gynecologist with more than 20 years of experience in caring for persons across the sexual and reproductive life course in high need, low resource communities, across different practice types and locations throughout the Midwest and Northern and Central California. In Chicago, she founded and lead an urban community hospital-based initiative, Young Women’s Health Initiative (YWHI), the parent organization of multiple evidence based and informed programs and practices adapted into routine health care settings for first time low income pregnant and parenting persons on Chicago’s south side. With private and state funding, a community advisory of adults and youth of color, and a dynamic 100% Black women team including an ob-gyn, nurse supervisor, nurse home visitors, licensed clinical professional counselor, and program coordinator, YWHI offered free voluntary services such as nurse home visiting, group socialization, and infant mental health through a trauma informed, reproductive justice, and youth centered lens. Given the co-location of services and programs within a health care system, YWHI also provided full spectrum care for entire families beyond sexual and reproductive health.


In 2013, she disrupted her medical career to pursue public health and to explore ways to integrate sexual and reproductive (S&R) justice theories into S&R health education, communication, training, and practice.   As an interdisciplinary scholar, her interests include innovations in technology to expand sexual and reproductive health care access and utilization, participatory research and evaluation of community- and hospital-based interventions in maternal child health, and participatory curricular development and evaluation. She is specifically interested in individual, institutional, structural, and historical factors that inform S&R health care quality, accessibility, and utilization, with a particular emphasis on and patient – provider communication, relationship, and shared decision-making models.   She also explores the omission, minimization, and/or invisibility of black cis, queer, and trans women in S&R health services research and public health approaches, as a means justify a paradigm shift towards a radically inclusive sex positive/sex pleasure and gender affirming framework that broadens sexual intention and motivation beyond the purpose of

Program Implementation, Adaptation, and Evaluation

  • Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) nurse home visiting model to improve maternal and children and social outcomes
    • NFP program enhancements included group socialization through implementation of SIHLE, H2H and Girls Circle Model
  • Sisters Informing, Healing, Living, and Empowering (SIHLE) CDC approved teen pregnancy and STI/HIV prevention model
  • Heart to Heart (H2H) innovative children sexual abuse prevention program through education and empowerment of young mother
  • Girls Circle Model – SAMHSA approved evidence-based program to increase positive connection, personal and collective strengths, and competence in girls.

Curricula Development and Implementation

  • Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Sex Positivity
  • Trauma Informed Sexual Health History Taking
  • Trauma Informed Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health
  • Intersectionality, Reproductive Justice, and Health Equity
  • Reproductive Justice in Sexual and Reproductive Health
  • Contraceptive Justice