Katherine Simmonds Biography

Katherine Simmonds, PhD, MPH, RN, WHNP-BC, FAAN

Clinical Professor, School of Nursing, Bouvé College of Health Sciences/the Roux Institute


[email protected]

Areas of Expertise

Sexual and reproductive health and justice
Abortion and abortion access
Climate justice/intersections of reproductive justice
Rural health inequities/structural urbanism


Kathy Simmonds, PhD, MPH, RN, WHNP-BC, FAAN joined the Roux Institute/Bouvé College of Health Sciences in August 2022. Prior to that, she was on the faculty at the MGH Institute of Health Professions (IHP) in Boston, where she was an Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Women’s Health and dual Adult-Gerontology/Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner specialties. In 2015 she received the IHP’s Nancy Watts Award for Excellence in Teaching, and in 2020 was designated as a fellow in the Teaching Excellence in Academic Learning program.

Dr. Simmonds’ has worked as a clinician in a variety of community-based settings including community health centers, Planned Parenthood, a migrant health clinic, and most recently the Portland Community Free Clinic. From 1996-2007, she worked at the Abortion Access Project, where she directed the Reproductive Options Education Consortium for Nursing (ROE), and went on to become a founding member of the national organization Reproductive Health in Nursing (now Nurses for Sexual and Reproductive Health). Dr. Simmonds is on the Steering Committee of the MGHIHP Center for Climate Change, Climate Justice, and Health, and former co-chair of the Alliance for Nurses for Healthy Environments (AHNE) Global Climate Change Working Group. She is interested in the intersection of Reproductive Justice and Climate Justice, and has published numerous articles and book chapters on sexual and reproductive health, unintended pregnancy, abortion, and the impacts of climate change on health.

Dr. Simmonds received her undergraduate degree from Cornell University, Master’s in Science in Nursing from the MGH Institute of Health Professions, Master’s in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health, and PhD from the University of Rhode Island. From 2014-2016 she was a Jonas Scholar, and an inaugural member of the American Academy of Nursing/Jonas Health Policy Scholar program. She was also a CoreAlign Generative Fellow in 2015. In 2022, she was named as a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.

Kathy lives on Peaks Island, Maine, with her husband, son, and a menagerie of furry and feathered creatures. She is thrilled to join the Roux Institute and Bouve College of Health Sciences to bring her energy to addressing health inequities in rural Maine and health workforce needs in the state.

Project Description

Dr. Simmonds’ scholarly work, clinical practice, and activism focuses on issues of equity and the communities that experience inequities. She approaches problems with a social justice framework: Who benefits and who is harmed by systems, processes, and interactions, and how can injustices be rectified? Much of her previous work has been in the area of sexual and reproductive health, and more recently climate justice. Additionally, she has emerging interest in rural health inequities and structural urbanism, and is begining to engage in research in that space. She values collaboration, team science, and shared leadership in research.

Publications – Past Three Years

Corpuz, J. & Simmonds, K. (2022). Empowering the Nurse Practitioner with the Reproductive Justice Framework. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners.

Auerbach, S., Minahan-Coleman, K., Alspaugh, A., Atzlan-Keahey, A., Stern, L. & Simmonds, K. (in review). Critiquing the Unintended Pregnancy Framework. Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health.

Simmonds, K., Breakey, S., & Nicholas, P. K. (2021). Educating Nurse Practitioners About Climate Change, Health, and Climate Justice. The Journal for Nurse Practitionershttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.nurpra.2021.10.006

Simmonds, K., Jenkins, J., White, B., Nicholas, P., & Bell, J. (2021). Health impacts of climate change on gender diverse populations: A scoping review. The Journal of Nursing Scholarship.

Simmonds, K., Erickson-Owens, D., & Schwartz-Barcott, D. (2021). Nurse Practitioners’ and Certified Nurse-Midwives Experiences Providing Comprehensive Early Abortion Care in New England. Health Care for Women International. doi.org/10.1080/07399332.2021.1929991

Jenkins, J., Woodside, F., Lipsky, K., Simmonds, K., & Coplon, L. (2021). Abortion with Pills: Review of Current Options in the United States. Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health. 66(6), 749-757. 

Nicholas, P., Breakey, S.E., Tagliareni, E., Simmonds, K., & Sabo, K. (2020). Climate Change and the Health of Populations: Incorporating Stages of Nursing’s Political Development. Nursing Outlook.

Simmonds, K., Cappiello, J., & Hoyt, A. (2019). Sexual and reproductive health content in nurse practitioner transition to practice training programs. Contraception: X1, 100005. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.conx.2019.100005

Nicholas, P. K., Breakey, S., Tagliareni, E., Tuck, I., Neal-Boylan, L., Ladd, E., Corless, I. B., Reynolds, R., Lussier-Duynstee, P., & Simmonds, K. (2019). Advancing a School of Nursing Center for Climate Change, Climate Justice, and Health. Annual Review of Nursing Research. 38, 145-167.

Cappiello, J., Simmonds, K., & Bamrick, K. (2019). A Survey of Characteristics of Transition to Practice Nurse Practitioner Programs. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners. 15, 241-244.

Johnson-Mallard, V., Kostas-Polston, E. A., Woods, N. F., Simmonds, K. E., Alexander, I. M., & Taylor, D. (2017). Unintended pregnancy: a framework for prevention and options for midlife women in the US. Women’s Midlife Health3(1),