Siân L. Curtis


Ph.D., Research Associate Professor, Maternal and Child Health

CPC Office: 123 W Franklin St, Room 3121
CPC Phone Number: (919) 445-0434

Dr. Curtis' Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Curtis's publications in PubMed

Dr. Curtis's CPC publications

Curtis is a statistical demographer whose research and administrative efforts have focused on monitoring and evaluation of global population and health programs and family planning and reproductive health. As the past Director of the MEASURE Evaluation Project (from 2002-12), she provided technical direction and leadership to a portfolio of over 100 individual monitoring and evaluation activities in over 25 countries. Curtis continues to play an important role in the MEASURE Evaluation Project as a Senior Evaluation Specialist with responsibilities for designing and leading evaluations related to international health and food security projects. She has particular expertise in the design and analysis of complex surveys and previously worked as a senior analyst with the Demographic and Health Survey Project at Macro International.

Recent work on contraceptive use dynamics includes two papers that explore supply and demand factors that affect contraceptive behavior. In 2011, Curtis and colleagues used DHS data from six countries to demonstrate that many women who discontinue contraception for reasons other than getting pregnant report a subsequent birth as intended. A smaller but non-trivial percentage of women who report a contraceptive failure also report the subsequent birth as intended. These findings contribute to a growing body of literature on the complexity and importance of fertility preferences in understanding contraceptive use dynamics. Her work shows that supply side elements can also influence contraceptive behavior: elements of the quality of family planning services such as solicitation of client preferences, assistance with method selection, provision of information by providers on side effects, and provider treatment of clients are associated with a significantly increased likelihood of current modern contraceptive use. Further, effects are often stronger among younger and less educated women.

Another current body of research focuses on maternal and reproductive health in Bangladesh. Curtis is currently involved in baseline data collection for two impact evaluation studies of maternal and reproductive health programs in Bangladesh. In a recently completed analysis, she and colleagues examine trends in equity in use of maternal health services in urban and rural areas of Bangladesh using data from the 2010 Bangladesh Maternal Mortality Survey (BMMS) and show that equity in use of maternal health services in improving in urban areas but not in rural areas. Curtis and colleagues also use the 2010 BMMS in a three country comparative study that examines experience using verbal autopsy methods to measure maternal mortality. The majority of countries in which maternal mortality is high lack good quality vital registration systems so alternative methods for measuring maternal mortality need to be found to monitor progress in reducing deaths from maternal causes. This work demonstrates that verbal autopsy methods can be used with a variety of platforms to obtain estimates of maternal mortality but highlights considerations for different platform options. Another methodological paper explored the implications of facility sampling and geographic displacement of cluster location to protect confidentiality for spatial linking of facility-based and population-based surveys for evaluation analyses. The analysis showed that facility sampling produced larger misclassification errors than cluster displacement, occasionally underestimating access to services by large amounts. The researchers recommend against linking independent facility samples and household clusters at low levels of geographic disaggregation.

Curtis’ research will include further work on contraceptive use dynamics focusing on the role of quality of care, the quality of contraceptive history data, and use of long acting and permanent methods of contraception; completion of two ongoing impact evaluation studies on maternal and reproductive health in Bangladesh, and participation in the planned 2016 Bangladesh maternal mortality survey. An emerging area of research is on the role of gender in food security initiatives. This work will focus on an impact evaluation of gendered outcomes of a groundnut value chain intervention to improve food security in Zambia.

Primary Research Areas:

  • Population Health

  • Reproductive Health

Current Research Projects:

Information updated on 2/21/2018

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