Dr Sarah Stutterheim (S.E.)

Dr. Stutterheim is an interdisciplinary mixed methods researcher with expertise in the related fields of health and social psychology, health promotion, and public health. Her research focuses on psychosocial aspects of living with a given condition or identity. As such, Stutterheim's research often focuses on social stigma, its determinants, and its effects across a broad range of conditions and identities (e.g., HIV, gender identity, sexual orientation, substance use, mental health difficulties, hepatitis B, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, overweight/obesity, COVID-19). 


A core area of Dr. Stutterheim's research is sexual health and HIV, where she investigates psychosocial aspects of HIV across the continuum from primary prevention to testing, linkage to care, initiation, and adherence. She also extensively explores quality of life among people with HIV and social engagement with HIV cure efforts. In that context, she is co-primary investigator in the Spiral Consortium that, through interdisciplinarity, seeks to move the field towards an ethical and equitable HIV cure for all. In terms of sexual health, Stutterheim's focus is predominantly in the realm of prevention and testing.


In the context of her work on gender, Dr. Stutterheim is co-chair of the GWO specialized network on Gender and Health at Work. This network foregrounds critical feminist explorations of gendered health issues in the workplace. Stutterheim's research on gender focuses mostly on the workplace experiences of transgender individuals and on theorizing the concept of 'dirty femininity'. 


Another prominent avenue of research in Stutterheim's work is systematic behaviour change. Dr. Stutterheim utilizes Intervention Mapping as a framework for understanding and changing health, social, and organizational behaviors. She additionally contributes to Intervention Mapping capacity building as a consultant and facilitates courses on Intervention Mapping within and beyond Maastricht University, both nationally and internationally.


Stutterheim's research is strongly informed by principles of community engagement and the use of participatory research methods. 


Some of Stutterheim's current projects include:


HIV Cure 4 All: Integrated Interventions for Durable HIV Control (together with Monique Nijhuis [Utrecht MC], Tokameh Mahmoudi [Erasmus MC], Godelieve De Bree [Amsterdam MC], and the SPIRAL consortium) which works towards achieving biomedical breakthroughs and gaining fundamental insights into biomedical, social, and economic challenges to succeed in developing and implementing an equitable and ethical HIV cure for all. Funding: NWO, aidsfonds, MSD, and First Health Pharmaceuticals


NL4Cure (together with Tamika Marcos, Maaike Noorman, Chantal den Daas, John de Wit, and Kai J. Jonas), which focuses on social engagement for HIV cure research by investigating the acceptance, importance, and meaning of an HIV cure, the extent to which a cure can lead to reductions in stigma, the nomenclature needed to effectively talk about cure, and the ways in which stakeholders can best be involved in HIV cure research. Funding: aidsfonds.


TikTok for HIV (together with Gido Metz, Hanneke Roosjen, and Evelien Spek), which leverages systematic behaviour change principles to promote HIV prevention and testing, and reduce HIV stigma. Funding: Gilead. 


Reducing HIV Stigma in Health Care (together with Sien van Oeveren, Ines Brito, and Maria Knaapen), which seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of a HIV stigma reduction intervention. 


RESET (together with Roy Willems, Arjan E. R. Bos, Kees Brinkman, Guido van den Berk, Marie-Jose T. Kleene, Chantal den Daas, Leo Schenk, Loek Elsenburg, and Hannah Jansen), which uses Intervention Mapping to develop, implement, and evaluate an intervention aimed at developing resilience and empowerment in people with HIV. Funding: aidsfonds, Gilead, Viiv Healthcare.


The EURegio Project (together with Hanne Zimmerman, and Kai J. Jonas), which focuses on improving HIV prevention in the region where the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany meet. Funding: aidsfonds, Gilead, Viiv Healthcare, Province of Limburg.


Testing and Linkage to Care among SubSaharan African Migrants (together with Oladipupo Shobowale and Kai J. Jonas), which focuses on barriers and facilitators to HIV testing and linkage to care among people with a SubSaharan African migration background living in the Netherlands. Funding: Gilead.


Improving Antiretroviral Treatment Initiation and Adherence in Indonesia (together with Bona Sardo Hutahaean and Kai J. Jonas), which focuses on understanding and improving initiation and adherence to HIV treatment in Indonesia. Funding: LPDP.  


Transgender Identity in the Workplace (together with Daniel Cancela, Sjir Uitdewilligen, and Ute Hulshegger), which focuses on the workplace impacts of being transgender. 


Gender and Health at Work (together with Lilith  A. Whiley), which is a specialized network within Gender, Work, and Organization that serves as a platform for researchers focusing on gender and health at work where they can share insights and develop collaborations.