Dr. Sara E. Baumann, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor, Behavioral and Community Health Sciences


6138 Public Health Building, 130 De Soto St, Pittsburgh, PA 15261
R-znvy: fnenonhznaa@cvgg.rqh
Primary Phone: 967-838-8071

Personal Statement

Sara Baumann is a global health, mixed methods researcher with primary research interests in 1) participatory and creative visual research methods, 2) women’s reproductive health, and 3) mental health. She has over 12 years of experience conducting research and programming in health and development in South Asia, with a current focus on Nepal. Her research agenda embraces community-engaged methods and developing evidence-based approaches for improving social determinants of health. Her research has been published in peer-reviewed journals, including Qualitative Health ResearchGlobal Public HealthWomen’s Reproductive Health and more. Her work has been featured in diverse media outlets from NPR to Glamour Magazine, and her films have been screened at the Smithsonian Institute, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and United Nations Headquarters in New York. Sara’s work has been supported by a Fulbright Scholarship to Bangladesh, and a Boren Fellowship to Nepal. 


2019 | University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA | PhD

2018 | Cornell University, Ithaca, NY | Intensive Nepali Language Program

2009 | BRAC University, Dhaka, Bangladesh | MPH

2008 | University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI | BA


BCHS 3007 | Ethnographic and Qualitative Methods

PUBHT 300 | Introduction to Community-based Approaches to Public Health

Research Interests

  • Women's Sexual and Reproductive Health
  • Global Health
  • Adolescent Health
  • Mental Health
  • Visual, arts-based and participatory research methods
  • Relationships between the arts and health outcomes

Visual Methods & Public Health

Sara’s PhD dissertation concentrated on research at the intersection of visual methods and public health, with a focus on Collaborative Filmmaking, a participatory method she developed during her training at Pitt Public Health. In Collaborative Filmmaking, participants are trained as community producers to create, analyze, and disseminate films to advance knowledge about health behaviors. She is the creator of the short film series, Cycle Series, that investigates lesser-known experiences of menstruation in Pittsburgh, and she regularly uses film as a dissemination and advocacy tool in public health. Sara also formed Old Fan Films, a film production company where she specializes in the creation of audiovisual materials for a wide range of development projects including climate change, water and sanitation, coping with illness, menstrual health, and more. She has created films and conducted research in India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, USA, and the Czech Republic to date. 

Selected Publications

Selected Peer-Reviewed Manuscripts


Women's Reproductive Health

  • Baumann, S., Merante, M.*, Wiltrot, C.*, Cutlip, T.*, Finkel, M., Maharjan, B.*, Lhaki, P., & Burke, J. (2021). Is Criminalization the Answer? Perspectives of Community Members and Police Regarding Menstrual Seclusion (Chhaupadi) Policy in Far-West Nepal. Health Policy and Planning. https://doi.org/10.1093/heapol/czab032
  • Baumann, S., Lhaki, P., Terry, M., Sommer, M., Cutlip, T.*, Merante, M.*, & Burke, J. (2021) Beyond the Menstrual Shed: Exploring Caste/Ethnic and Religious Complexities of Menstrual Practices in Far-West Nepal. Women’s Reproductive Healthhttps://doi.org/10.1080/23293691.2020.1861413
  • Baumann, S. (2020). An Extensive Menstrual Studies Resource Spanning Disciplines, Contexts and Forms. [Review of the book Palgrave Handbook of Critical Menstruation Studies, edited by Bobel, C. et al.]. Psychology of Women Quarterly. https://doi.org/10.1177/0361684320967619
  • Baumann, S., Lhaki, P., & Burke, J. (2019). Assessing the role of caste/ethnicity in predicting menstrual knowledge, attitudes and practices in Nepal. Global Public Health.  https://doi.org/10.1080/17441692.2019.1583267

Arts + Health & Innovation

  • Baumann, S. & Burke, J. (2021, In Press). Creating Community During COVID-19: A Participatory Virtual Art Gallery Exploring Resilience, Social Cohesion and Creativity During the Pandemic. Health Promotion Practice.
  • Baumann, S., Merante, M.*, Sylvan, M., & Burke, J. (2021). Creating a way forward: Exploring the role of community art and trauma, mental health and resilience in the aftermath of the 2015 mega-earthquake in Nepal. Health Promotion Practice, Arts & Public Health Supplement. https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732320941826
  • Baumann, S., Lhaki, P., & Burke, J. (2020). Collaborative Filmmaking: A Participatory, Visual Method. Qualitative Health Researchhttps://doi.org/10.1177/1049732320941826
  • Baumann, S., Merante, M.*, Folb, B. & Burke, J. (2019). Is Film as a Research Tool the Future of Public Health?: A Review of Study Designs, Opportunities, and Challenges. Qualitative Health Research. https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732319871251
  • Felter, E. & Baumann, S. (2019). Development of a Community-Engaged Classroom for Teaching Health Communications: Lessons Learned from Nine Semesters of Implementation. Pedagogy in Health Promotion. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F2373379918824353 (Winner of the Paper of the Year Award)

Selected Commissioned Studies/Technical Reports

  • Burke, J. & Baumann, S. (2020) Joint Documentation of Empowerment Outcomes among Adolescents Who Have Undertaken the ‘Rupantaran’ Social and Financial Skills Package. Funded by UNICEF South Asia.
  • Baumann, S. Literature Review on Harmful Practices in Nepal. (2020, January). Funded by UN Development Operations Coordination Office, UN Population Fund, and UN Women.
  • Baumann, S. Advancement for Recovery Initiatives for Safer Ethiopia (ARISE) Project Process Documentation, Best Practices and Lessons Identified from Standardized Provision of Non-Food Items (NFIs), Capacity Development and After-Action Review Process. (2020, February). Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.




Sara E.  Baumann