Department of Health Sciences
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, British Columbia
Dr. Shira Goldenberg is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University and a Research Scientist with the Centre for Gender and Sexual Health Equity (CGSHE) at Providence Health Care. She is also an adjunct faculty member in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. Dr. Goldenberg is the recipient of a prestigious Canada-U.S. Fulbright award and received her PhD in Public Health (Global Health) at the University of California, San Diego and San Diego State University (2011). Her postdoctoral training at the University of California, San Diego and the Gender and Sexual Health Initiative of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS focused on community-based HIV and sexual health equity research, prospective and mixed methods approaches, and ethical approaches to community-based HIV research.
Dr. Goldenberg’s research aims to better understand and address inequities related to sexual health, access to healthcare, and human rights for marginalized populations, including im/migrants, sex workers, and young women in Canada, Latin America, and other international settings. Her research employs qualitative, mixed-methods, social epidemiological, spatial and community-based research approaches. She is passionate about conducting community-based research to reduce health and social inequities faced by marginalized communities. Her work is informed by advisory support and partnerships with sex work, immigrant support, and public health organizations and policy bodies at the local, national, and global levels.
Dr. Goldenberg is currently the Principal Investigator of the Evaluating Inequities in Refugee and Immigrant Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Access (IRIS) Study, a CIHR-funded mixed-methods evaluation of immigrant women’s engagement with and access to sexual and reproductive health services in BC, using administrative population-based data and prospective qualitative interviews. She is also joint PI of An Evaluation of Sex Workers’ Health Access (AESHA), which is an ongoing longitudinal, community-based cohort study examining the impacts of structural and system-level interventions (e.g., community empowerment, policing, peer-led HIV/STI testing) on sexual health inequities and access to care among women sex workers in Metro Vancouver, BC.
Mentored Research Project (MRP) Title
Barriers and Facilitators to Participation in HIV Research: Female Sex Workers’ Perspectives
Globally, female sex workers remain disproportionately impacted by HIV. While research with sex workers is critical to inform HIV prevention, few studies have examined how sex workers perceive the benefits and risks of participating in HIV-related research. To explore perceived barriers and facilitators to participation in HIV research, we conducted in-depth interviews and focus groups with 33 female sex workers ≥18 years old in Tecun Uman, Guatemala from 2013-2014.Stigma associated with sex work and HIV was a critical barrier to research participation.Key benefits of participation included access to HIV/STI prevention and testing, as well as positive and trusting relationships between sex workers and research teams. Control exerted by managers had mixed influences on perceived research risks and benefits, with some women reporting managerial practices that promoted research engagement, whereas others described managers as restricting research participation. Participant narratives contextualized these themes as linked to broader inequities related to stigma, poor access to care, limited social and psychological support, the clandestine nature of sex work, and human rights violations.Results underscore the critical need for HIV investigators to develop population-tailored procedures to reduce stigma, engage managers, and reinforce trusting, reciprocal relationships between sex work communities and researchers. These efforts remain particularly crucial within resource-poorsettings where sex workers face pervasive barriers to health and social supports,and remain heavily criminalized and stigmatized.
Goldenberg, S.M., Mindt, M.R., Jimenez, T.R., Brouwer, K.C., Miranda, S.M., & Fisher, C.B. (2014). Structural and interpersonal benefits and risks of participation in HIV research: perspectives of female sex workers in Guatemala. Ethics & Behavior, 25(2): 97-114 https://doi.org/10.1080/10508422.2014.950270
Goldenberg, S. M., Brouwer, K. C., Jimenez, T. R., Miranda, S. M., & Mindt, M. R. (2016). Enhancing the Ethical Conduct of HIV Research with Migrant Sex Workers: Human Rights, Policy, and Social Contextual Influences. PLoS One, 11(5). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0155048
Rocha-Jimézes, T., Brouwer, K.C., Silverman, J.G., Morales-Miranda, S., & Goldenberg, S.M. (2016). Migration, violence, and safety among migrant sex workers: a qualitative study in two Guatemalan communities. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 18(9): 965-79. https://doi.org/10.1080/13691058.2015.1122229
Rocha-Jimézes, T., Brouwer, K.C., Silverman, J.G., Morales-Miranda, S., & Goldenberg, S.M. (2017). Exploring the Context and Implementation of Public Health Regulations Governing Sex Work: A Qualitative Study with Migrant Sex Workers in Guatemala. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 19(5): 1235-1244. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10903-016-0399-x
Goldenberg, S. M., Rocha Jiménez, T., Brouwer, K. C., Morales Miranda, S., & Silverman, J. G. (2018). Influence of indoor work environments on health, safety, and human rights among migrant sex workers at the Guatemala-Mexico Border: a call for occupational health and safety interventions. BMC International Health and Human Rights, 18(1), 9. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12914-018-0149-