Kate Lovero

Assistant Professor of Sociomedical Sciences

What are some of the major projects that you're currently working on or some of the ideas you have for future research?

My work is broadly focused on improving adolescent mental health in low-resource settings worldwide. Right now, I am collaborating with the Mozambican Ministry of Health to develop services for adolescent depression and anxiety integrated in the national primary health care system. I am also beginning work training primary care providers to screen and provide a brief intervention for adolescents with suicide risk in Mozambican primary care. In the future, I hope to expand into community-level adolescent mental health promotion. This level of work can help prevent adolescents from developing mental health problems and can support earlier identification of those in need of treatment. 

How does your research fit into the larger landscape of public health research, and more specifically into sociomedical sciences?

Mental health problems are the number one cause of years lived with disability, and, regardless of life situation, anyone can struggle with mental health problems. That said, mental health can affect and be affected by a variety of social determinants – for example, mental health has a reciprocal relationship with educational attainment, employment, and relationships. Similarly, mental health affects and is affected by physical health – poor mental health can worsen physical health and poor physical health can worsen mental health. Because of this, addressing poor mental health as well as the social determinants of it are integral components to promoting public health in general.

What do you hope to accomplish in the next year?

I’m most looking forward to beginning to work with the faculty at SMS, learning from their broad range of expertise and finding ways to collaborate that really push forward multilevel interventions to promote health of diverse communities. Among students, I want to bring greater attention to the importance of adolescent mental health and hope to give guest lectures as well as develop a course specific to the topic. As a more modest accomplishment, my goal over the year is to collect some plants and art to cover the currently very barren landscape of my office.

What is your favorite thing about teaching or mentoring?

I love seeing the research and work I know through different eyes. Teaching and mentoring students allows me to view problems from other perspectives and, often times, think about new ways of addressing them. Students’ enthusiasm also helps me stay excited about my work and the power of public health research. Finally, working with students gives me an opportunity to practice communicating health research and evidence to people of different backgrounds. In public health research, knowing how to effectively share our message is paramount to the impact of our work, so I welcome any opportunity to hone my skills.

Do you have any hobbies? What might your colleagues not know about you?

I am genuinely very grateful that I get to do work I enjoy so much that it feels like a hobby, but I also appreciate having outside interests that give my brain time to recharge. My favorite hobby is really just to try new things, be it exploring new places, meeting new people, trying new food, seeing new art. But, like everyone, this past year has had me mostly leaning into my homebound interests. I enjoy throwing pottery, but don’t have my own wheel at home, so I’ve recently redirected my clay-building interest into making earrings for myself and as gifts. As far as what people don’t know about me, growing up my nickname was Bubba (the kind of nickname where a lot of people didn’t even know my real name) and I was only really able to shake it when I moved away from my hometown. Secret’s out now though, I guess..