Kelly Knight, PhD

Phone: 415-867-8405

Research Interests

  • The social construction and experience of addiction
  • Co-morbidity (HIV, substance abuse, mental illness), homelessness, and US urban health
  • Structural competency in medical education and clinical care
  • Chronic non-cancer pain, clinical uncertainty, and scientific evidence
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bi-polar disorder, and the US welfare state
  • Gender, reproduction, motherhood and citizenship
  • The production of knowledge in science, clinical medicine, and public health

Courses taught

ANTH211A: Introduction to Ethnographic Theory and Methods (with Judith Barker)
ANTH205A: Introduction to Medical Anthropology Theory  (with Vincanne Adams)
ANTH 225: The Clinic, in theory and practice
ANTH 225: Disability and Dependence in the US Welfare State (with Aimee Medeiros)
PH290/ANTH 225: Structural Competency (with Seth Holmes)

Research Program

Chronic pain and addiction
I am currently conducting an of chronic pain and addiction funded by the NIH-National Institute of Drug Abuse (R01DA034625), Pain Management in the Clinic and Community. This study will take place in six safety-net clinics and community settings in the greater San Francisco Bay Area.  Chronic non-cancer pain (CNCP) management among low income patients is scientifically contested and clinically fraught.  CNCP, which affects 25% of American adults, is a leading cause of disability and exorbitant health care costs in the United States, exceeding cancer, heart disease, and diabetes combined in annual expenditures.  The Institute of Medicine and the American Pain Society research review panel concluded that a dearth of scientific research exists to guide primary care providers in pain management, particularly with patients who have a history of substance use (past or current).  Yet, opioid pain medication prescribing has increased steadily for the last 20 years, leading to a dramatic increase in accidental deaths involving prescription opioid misuse across the United States. This ethnography will explore the clinical practices and social consequences of chronic non-cancer pain management for substance users in light of pervasive clinical uncertainty and a lack of scientific evidence.

Addiction, housing instability, and reproduction in the US welfare state
I have several projects that reflect a body of work which has centered on the production of knowledge about addiction and mental health, urban landscapes of housing instability and adjudication, women’s health, and co-morbidity (HIV, mental illness, and substance abuse). These projects include: two ethnographic studies funded by the California HIV/AIDS Research Program (Kelly Knight-PI), Policing, Arrest, HIV risk, and Women (2008-2011) and The HIV, Environment and Risk Study (2006-2008), and one ethnography funded by the UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (Kelly Knight-PI), The Care to Home Study: socio-structural barriers for HIV+ women who use illicit stimulants (2010-2011).  During this period, I also collaborated on two longitudinal, multi-methodological cohort studies of housing instability, substance use, gender, and victimization funded by the NIH-National Institute of Drug Abuse (R01DA015605; Elise Riley-PI) Shelter, Health care, And Drug use (2007-2012) and Drugs, gender and healthcare use among HIV+ homeless (2003-2007).

Selected Publications                                                                                                                                 

Knight KR  addicted.pregnant.poor. Duke University Press, 2015.

Riley, EB; Cohen, J; Knight, KR; Decker, A; Marson, K; Shumway, M. (2014) Recent Violence in a Community-Based Sample of Homeless and Unstably Housed Women With High Levels of Psychiatric Comorbidity.  AJPH.  DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.301958.

Mizuno Y; Purcell D; Knight KR; Knowlton A; Zhang J; Knowlton A; Gourevitch, MN. Wilkinson, J. (2014) Syndemic vulnerability, sexual and injection risk behaviors, and HIV continuum of care outcomes in HIV-positive injection drug users” AIDS Behav. 2014 Sep 24. [Epub ahead of print].

Knight, KR; Lopez, AM; Shumway, M; Comfort, M; Cohen, J; Riley, EB.  (2013) Single Room Occupancy (SRO) hotels as mental health risk environments among impoverished women: the intersection of policy, drug use, trauma and urban space.  International Journal of Drug Policy.  DOI:10.1016/j.drugpo.2013.10.011.

Knight, KR; Das, M; DeMicco, E; Raiford, JM; Matheson, T;  Shook, A; Antunez, E; Santos, M; Dadasovich, R; Dilley, JW; Colfax, GN; Herbst, JH. (2013) A roadmap for adapting an evidence-based HIV prevention intervention: Personal Cognitive Counseling (PCC) for Episodic Substance-Using Men Who Have Sex with Men (SUMSM).  Prevention Science. DOI: 10.1007/s11121-013-0364-z.

Knight, KR. (2012) The public life of sex work: risk, politics, and public health. Western Humanities Review, Fall, 2012:55-76.

Mackenzie, S.; Pearson, C.; Frye, V.; Gomez, CA; Latka, M; Purcell, D.W.; Knowlton, A; Metsch, LR; Tobin, KE; Valverde, E; Knight, KR.  (2012) Agents of Change: Peer Mentorship as HIV Prevention among HIV-Positive Injection Drug Users. Substance Use and Misuse. 47:522–534.

Dawson Rose, C, Courtenay-Quirk, C, Knight K.R., Lum, P., Bacon, O., Colfax, G. (2010) Intervention for Providers (HIP) Study: A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Clinician-Delivered HIV Risk-reduction Intervention for HIV-Positive People. JAIDS. 55(5):572-581.

Mizuno Y; Purcell D; Zhang J; Knowlton A; De Varona M; Arnsten J; Knight KR. (2009) Predictors of current housing status among HIV-seropositive injection drug users (IDUs): Results from a one-year study.  AIDS and Behavior 13(1):165-72.

Dawson Rose, C.S., Shade, S.B., Lum, P.J., Knight, K.R., Purcell, D.P., & Parsons, J.  (2005) The Health Care Experience of HIV Positive Injection Drug Users.  Journal of Multicultural Nursing and Health, 11(1): 23-30.

Comfort M, Grinstead O, McCartney K, Bourgois P, Knight K. (2005) “You cannot do nothing in this damn place”: sex and intimacy among couples with an incarcerated male partner. Journal of Sex Research. 42(1): 3-12.

COVER final

Last modified: February 24, 2016