Michele Shedlin


Michele Shedlin headshot

Michele G Shedlin

Professor Emerita

1 212 998 5714

NEW YORK, NY 10010
United States

Michele G Shedlin's additional information

Michele G. Shedlin, PhD, is a professor in the NYU Meyers College of Nursing, an adjunct professor in the College of Dentistry, and a visiting professor at the University of Szeged, Hungary. She is a medical anthropologist with extensive experience in qualitative reproductive health, substance abuse, and HIV/AIDS research in Africa, Latin America, and the United States. She has designed and implemented behavioral studies at the community, university, and national levels, to inform and evaluate prevention and care. She has taught for ten years in the doctoral program as well as taught Narrative Medicine in FAS. Shedlin mentors new researchers at the Center for Drug Use and HIV Research and the VA and NYU School of Medicine.

Shedlin was a founding member of the Meyers Faculty Council and has served as Deputy Director of the WHO Collaborating Center in Gerontologic Nursing, the Provost's Academy Advisory Committee, and the Cross University Faculty Forum. Shedlin has chaired the Council on Ethics and Professional Responsibility (at NYU Meyers and School of Dentistry) and served on the Advisory Committee of the NYU Center for Bioethics.

Prior to joining the faculty at NYU, Shedlin headed her own research consulting firm. She was also a faculty member at Columbia University School of Public Health and the University of Texas Leavell Chair in Nursing and Public Health and co-director of the NIH Hispanic Health Disparities Research Center. In 2013, she was a Senior Fulbright Scholar at the University of Szeged, in Hungary.

Shedlin received her PhD, MPhil, MA, and BS from Columbia University.

PhD - Columbia University (1982)
MPhil - Columbia University (1982)
MA - Columbia University (1975)
BS - Columbia University School of General Studies (1968)
Summer Sessions - Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (1961 & 1962)

Infectious disease
Women's health

American Anthropological Association
American Public Health Association, Latino Caucus
Board of Directors, IMIFAP, Mexico
Editorial Board, Advances in Population AIDS and Anthropology Research Group
Editorial Board, EHQUIDAD: International Journal of Social Sciences and Social Work (Spain)
Fellow, New York Academy of Medicine
Hungarian American Medical Association of America
International Editorial Board, Journal of Sexuality Research & Social Policy
Population Association of America
Society for Medical Anthropology

Faculty Honors Awards

Senior Fulbright Scholar, University of Szeged (2013)
Honorary University Professorship, University of Szeged (2013)


Protocol: A multi-modal, physician-centered intervention to improve guideline-concordant prostate cancer imaging

Makarov, D. V., Ciprut, S., Kelly, M., Walter, D., Shedlin, M. G., Braithwaite, R. S., Tenner, C. T., Gold, H. T., Zeliadt, S., & Sherman, S. E. (2021). Trials, 22(1). 10.1186/s13063-021-05645-3
Background: Almost half of Veterans with localized prostate cancer receive inappropriate, wasteful staging imaging. Our team has explored the barriers and facilitators of guideline-concordant prostate cancer imaging and found that (1) patients with newly diagnosed prostate cancer have little concern for radiographic staging but rather focus on treatment and (2) physicians trust imaging guidelines but are apt to follow their own intuition, fear medico-legal consequences, and succumb to influence from imaging-avid colleagues. We used a theory-based approach to design a multi-level intervention strategy to promote guideline-concordant imaging to stage incident prostate cancer. Methods: We designed the Prostate Cancer Imaging Stewardship (PCIS) intervention: a multi-site, stepped wedge, cluster-randomized trial to determine the effect of a physician-focused behavioral intervention on Veterans Health Administration (VHA) prostate cancer imaging use. The multi-level intervention, developed according to the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) and Behavior Change Wheel, combines traditional physician behavior change methods with novel methods of communication and data collection. The intervention consists of three components: (1) a system of audit and feedback to clinicians informing individual clinicians and their sites about how their behavior compares to their peers’ and to published guidelines, (2) a program of academic detailing with the goal to educate providers about prostate cancer imaging, and (3) a CPRS Clinical Order Check for potentially guideline-discordant imaging orders. The intervention will be introduced to 10 participating geographically distributed study sites. Discussion: This study is a significant contribution to implementation science, providing VHA an opportunity to ensure delivery of high-quality care at the lowest cost using a theory-based approach. The study is ongoing. Preliminary data collection and recruitment have started; analysis has yet to be performed. Trial registration: CliniclTrials.gov NCT03445559.

Randomized trial of community health worker-led decision coaching to promote shared decision-making for prostate cancer screening among Black male patients and their providers

Makarov, D. V., Feuer, Z., Ciprut, S., Lopez, N. M., Fagerlin, A., Shedlin, M., Gold, H. T., Li, H., Lynch, G., Warren, R., Ubel, P., & Ravenell, J. E. (2021). Trials, 22(1). 10.1186/s13063-021-05064-4
Background: Black men are disproportionately affected by prostate cancer, the most common non-cutaneous malignancy among men in the USA. The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) encourages prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing decisions to be based on shared decision-making (SDM) clinician professional judgment, and patient preferences. However, evidence suggests that SDM is underutilized in clinical practice, especially among the most vulnerable patients. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of a community health worker (CHW)-led decision-coaching program to facilitate SDM for prostate cancer screening among Black men in the primary care setting, with the ultimate aim of improving/optimizing decision quality. Methods: We proposed a CHW-led decision-coaching program to facilitate SDM for prostate cancer screening discussions in Black men at a primary care FQHC. This study enrolled Black men who were patients at the participating clinical site and up to 15 providers who cared for them. We estimated to recruit 228 participants, ages 40–69 to be randomized to either (1) a decision aid along with decision coaching on PSA screening from a CHW or (2) receiving a decision aid along with CHW-led interaction on modifying dietary and lifestyle to serve as an attention control. The independent randomization process was implemented within each provider and we controlled for age by dividing patients into two strata: 40–54 years and 55–69 years. This sample size sufficiently powered the detection differences in the primary study outcomes: knowledge, indicative of decision quality, and differences in PSA screening rates. Primary outcome measures for patients will be decision quality and decision regarding whether to undergo PSA screening. Primary outcome measures for providers will be acceptability and feasibility of the intervention. We will examine how decision coaching about prostate cancer screening impact patient-provider communication. These outcomes will be analyzed quantitatively through objective, validated scales and qualitatively through semi-structured, in-depth interviews, and thematic analysis of clinical encounters. Through a conceptual model combining elements of the Preventative Health Care Model (PHM) and Informed Decision-Making Model, we hypothesize that the prostate cancer screening decision coaching intervention will result in a preference-congruent decision and decisional satisfaction. We also hypothesize that this intervention will improve physician satisfaction with counseling patients about prostate cancer screening. Discussion: Decision coaching is an evidence-based approach to improve decision quality in many clinical contexts, but its efficacy is incompletely explored for PSA screening among Black men in primary care. Our proposal to evaluate a CHW-led decision-coaching program for PSA screening has high potential for scalability and public health impact. Our results will determine the efficacy, cost-effectiveness, and sustainability of a CHW intervention in a community clinic setting in order to inform subsequent widespread dissemination, a critical research area highlighted by USPSTF. Trial registration: The trial was registered prospectively with the National Institute of Health registry (www.clinicaltrials.gov), registration number NCT03726320, on October 31, 2018.

Attitudes among working professionals toward immigrants and refugees living in Ecuador: Impacts on health and well-being

Dressel, A., Falconí, E., Luft, H., Hawkins, M., Noboa, H., Betancourt, Óscar, Sedar, A., & Shedlin, M. G. (2020). Public Health Nursing, 37(4), 517-524. 10.1111/phn.12734
Objective: To explore attitudes toward immigrants and refugees living in Ecuador. Design and Measures: A transnationalism framework informed this qualitative study, which utilized a semi-structured interview guide to elicit responses from participants about their attitudes toward immigrants and refugees. Interviews were conducted in Spanish, audio-taped, transcribed, coded, and analyzed in Spanish to identify emergent themes. Demographic data were analyzed using SPSS. Sample: Participants (n = 50) were recruited from five sectors that interact with refugees: health care, the press, the police, nongovernmental organizations, and education. Fifty interviews were conducted with adults in Quito, Ecuador, in 2017. Results: Participants reported concerns about the health and well-being of immigrants and refugees, expressed a willingness to assist them, but within limits, noted discrimination and bias against refugees, and cited social policies and human rights as factors that influenced their attitudes. Conclusions: Our findings indicate that immigrants and refugees face challenges which impact their health and well-being, according to participants in the study. Social policies can influence attitudes, but are also affected by rapidly shifting immigration patterns. Migration flows in South America is an under-studied area of research, with opportunity for further public health nursing inquiry.

Adulterants and altruism: A qualitative investigation of “drug checkers” in North America

Palamar, J. J., Acosta, P., Sutherland, R., Shedlin, M. G., & Barratt, M. J. (2019). International Journal of Drug Policy, 74, 160-169. 10.1016/j.drugpo.2019.09.017
Background: “Drug checking” has become a common harm reduction method used to test illicit substances, such as ecstasy, for purity and/or the presence of adulterants. Formal drug-checking services have been operating for decades, and the use of personal reagent test kits appears to be relatively common; however, little attention has been devoted to understanding the role and broader experiences of ‘drug-checkers’ (i.e., people who test their own and/or other people's substances). As such, it remains unknown who is engaging in this practice, their motivations for drug-checking, and what barriers they may experience. We addressed this research gap by interviewing people who check drugs about their experiences, with a goal of better understanding drug checking practices. Methods: We conducted in-depth interviews with 32 adults in North America who reported testing drugs. Coding was conducted in an inductive manner and thematic analysis was used to identify relevant themes. Results: Over half (56.2%) of our sample was affiliated with a drug checking organization. Among non-affiliated checkers (43.8%), the majority (57.1%) tested for friends, 21.4% tested only for themselves, and 21.4% were people who sold drugs and tested for their clients. Motivations were driven largely by altruism, described by checkers as wanting to protect their peers from exposure to adulterants. People interviewed who sold drugs were altruistic in the same manner. Barriers to checking—particularly at nightclubs and festivals—included perceived illegality of test kits and denied approval to test drugs at venues, although many checkers circumvented this barrier by checking drugs without such approval. Conclusions: Drug checkers in North America seek to educate people who use drugs about the risk of exposure to unexpected substance types, but they face various barriers. Policy change could help ensure that these potentially life-saving services can be provided without fear of fines and/or criminal prosecution.

Ceremonial ‘Plant Medicine’ use and its relationship to recreational drug use: an exploratory study

Dorsen, C., Palamar, J., & Shedlin, M. G. (2019). Addiction Research and Theory, 27(2), 68-75. 10.1080/16066359.2018.1455187
Background: The ceremonial use of psychoactive/hallucinogenic plant based drugs, such as ayahuasca, psilocybin and others, is a growing trend in the United States (US) and globally. To date, there has been little research documenting how many people are using psychoactive substances in this context, who the users are, what benefits/risks exist in the use of these drugs and the relationship between ceremonial drug use and recreational drug use. In this paper we describe a cohort of plant medicine facilitators in the US and explore how they differentiate plant medicine use from recreational drug use. Methods: Using modified ethnography, individual interviews were conducted in 2016 with 15 participants who are currently facilitating plant medicine ceremonies in the US. Descriptive content analysis was performed to discover themes and to inform a larger mixed-method study. Results: Ceremonial drug use was seen by participants as a natural healing and treatment modality used in the context of community and ritual. Three main themes were identified relating to participants’ differentiation between ceremonial plant medicine use and recreational drug use: (1) participants see a clear delineation between plant medicine use and recreational drug use; (2) plant medicine is seen as a potential treatment for addiction, but concerns exist regarding potential interference with recovery; and (3) plant medicine use may influence recreational use. Conclusions: More research is needed on who is using plant medicine, motivators for use, perceived and real risks and benefits of plant medicine use and harm reduction techniques regarding safe ingestion.

A Framework for Using eHealth Interventions to Overcome Medical Mistrust Among Sexual Minority Men of Color Living with Chronic Conditions

Ramos, S. R., Warren, R., Shedlin, M., Melkus, G., Kershaw, T., & Vorderstrasse, A. (2019). Behavioral Medicine, 45(2), 166-176. 10.1080/08964289.2019.1570074
The purpose of this paper is to present a stepwise, multi-construct, innovative framework that supports the use of eHealth technology to reach sexual minority populations of color to establish trustworthiness and build trust. The salience of eHealth interventions can be leveraged to minimize the existing paradigm of medical mistrust among sexual minority populations of color living with chronic illnesses. These interventions include virtual environments and avatar-led eHealth videos, which address psychosocial and structural-level challenges related to mistrust. Our proposed framework addresses how eHealth interventions enable technology adoption and usage, anonymity, co-presence, self-disclosure, and social support and establish trustworthiness and build trust.

Mexican men, female sex workers and HIV/AIDS at the U.S.-Mexico border

Ferreira-Pinto, J. B., Ramos, R. L., & Shedlin, M. (2019). In Aids Crossing Borders (1–, pp. 113-136). Taylor and Francis. 10.4324/9780429045233-6
This chapter examines behaviors which place female sex workers in El Paso and Juarez and their clients, among them migrant farmworkers, at risk for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. It investigates the differences in drug use and sexual behaviors between two cohorts of female sex workers in El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, and the implications of these behaviors for HIV transmission. The chapter discusses the possible risks of HIV exposure for sojourners and those for migrant workers who come from the interior of Mexico and stay in the border region only for the time necessary to secure safe transportation to other agricultural zones in the interior of the US Given the relationship between drugs, sex and HIV transmission, it also examines the drug using behavior of female sex workers in both cities, and how these behaviors affected the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, among a specific segment of the Mexican male population, namely, migrant farmworkers.

Patient decision-making regarding left ventricular assist devices: A multiple case study

Dillworth, J., Dickson, V. V., Reyentovich, A., & Shedlin, M. G. (2019). Intensive and Critical Care Nursing, 51, 7-14. 10.1016/j.iccn.2018.10.004
Objectives: To understand how patients make decisions regarding a left ventricular assist device (LVAD). Design: A qualitative multiple case study design was used to explore the context and influence of individuals regarding patients’ decision-making processes through: 1) detailed, in-depth interviews of those mostly involved in the patient's decision and 2) pertinent data including observations, medical records, educational information and physical artifacts. Data clusters and patterns of co-occurring codes were examined using thematic analysis. Main outcome measures: Themes were extrapolated from individual case summaries to provide an in-depth analysis of each case and a cross-case analysis across the multiple cases. The predominant theme, consistent with other studies, was the salience of survival. Findings: This case study approach revealed new themes beyond those of prior studies. Patients considered: 1) self-care management for patients without a caregiver, 2) acceptability and future expectations of the LVAD and 3) the role of nurses in eliciting patients’ fears, values and preferences. Conclusion: The patients’ decision-making processes regarding an LVAD involve a cost-benefit analysis of the anticipated needs and consequences of the LVAD. Acceptability of the device is relevant to clinical practice and public policy. Nurses have a unique role in seeking patients’ concerns, an essential component of shared decision-making.

Interdisciplinary Collaborations in Global Health Research

Kurth, A., Squires, A., Shedlin, M., & Kiarie, J. (2018). In Global Health Nursing in the 21st Century (1–). Springer Publishing Company. 10.1891/9780826118721.0031

Knowledge and behaviours related to oral health among underserved older adults

Shedlin, M. G., Birdsall, S. B., & Northridge, M. E. (2018). Gerodontology, 35(4), 339-349. 10.1111/ger.12367
Objective: To examine the mouth and body knowledge, beliefs and behaviours of Dominican, Puerto Rican and African American older adults, and their relationships to oral and general health and health care. Background: In his seminal framework, Handwerker posited that the norms, attitudes and behaviours related to the experience of disease and treatment reflect where patients live and have lived and are seeking and have sought care, along with their webs of social and health relations. This framework guides the analysis for the present study, wherein qualitative data are used to understand mouth and body knowledge, beliefs and behaviours among racial/ethnic minority older adults, ie, why individuals do what they do and what it means to them. Materials and methods: Focus groups were conducted in Spanish or English with 194 racial/ethnic minority older adults living in northern Manhattan who participated in one of 24 focus group sessions about improving oral health. All groups were digitally audio-recorded, transcribed and translated into English from Spanish, where apt. Analysis involved the classification of evidence from all datasets, organised to identify patterns and relationships. Results: Four themes were manifest in the data regarding cultural understandings of the mouth, the body and health: (a) the ageing mouth and its components; (b) the mouth in relation to the body, health and disease; (c) social meanings of the mouth; and (d) care of the ageing mouth. Conclusion: Underserved older adults from diverse cultural backgrounds understand the importance of their mouths to both their overall health and social lives.