Kacey C. Ernst, PhD MPH, joined the faculty of the University of Arizona in 2008 as an infectious disease epidemiologist. Her primary projects examine the environmental determinants of vector-borne disease transmission and control; primarily dengue and malaria. Current research projects include an examination of insecticide treated bednet use in western Kenya. Comparisons between determinants of use and effectiveness in highland and lowland areas are underway. She is also working with investigators in entomology to examine the role of Ae. aegypti population dynamics in the potential expansion of dengue from northern Mexico to southern Arizona under climate change scenarios.
Locally, Dr. Ernst takes an active role in working with the local health departments to examine questions related to vaccine preventable diseases. Her work seeks to understand the reasons behind increasing vaccination exemption rates in Arizona and the development of programs to increase vaccination uptake.