Elisabeth Bolaza

PhD Student
Human Sexuality

MPH in Health & Social Behavior/Global Health


Elisabeth Bolaza is a PhD candidate and member of the inaugural cohort of the the Human Sexuality PhD program. She comes to this program with a master's degree in Public Health from UC Berkeley, specializing in Health and Social Behavior & Global Health, and an undergraduate degree in Biology from UCLA.

Her research focuses on the new motherhood, sexuality, and maternal health care in the United States. Her research focuses on the sexuality of motherhood and birth, and the social justice issues facing birthing people. Through her dissertation project, titled The Birth Pleasure Study, is a mixed-methods study of pleasure as experienced in labor and giving birth, she intends to elucidate the ways pleasure impacts birth experience, outcomes, and wellbeing across class and race categories. She is particularly interested in embodiment, pleasure/pain, autonomy, and empowerment in the context of birth.

Elisabeth engages radical, participatory, and transformative approaches in her research and activism--her multidisciplinary work pulls together public health, medical anthropology, cultural studies, and women's studies. Drawing on intersectional feminism, biopsychosocial and socioecological perspectives, and a drive to engage in political and biological discourse, she endeavors to bridge disciplinary divides and contribute to the practices of public sexual health, women's studies, and sexuality research. Elisabeth lives in Oakland, California with her husband and two daughters. Learn more about her work or connect with her at www.elisabethbolaza.com.

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