Chelsea Polis is senior scientist of epidemiology at the Center for Biomedical Research (CBR) at the Population Council. Polis serves on CBR’s leadership team, advising on product development strategy, providing essential perspective on key attributes for sexual and reproductive health products, and contributing to the understanding of the actual and potential impact of CBR’s work.
Polis is an epidemiologist who works toward improving global sexual and reproductive health on issues including contraception, HIV, abortion, and infertility. Her collaborations with the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have contributed to efforts in updating global contraceptive guidance in the World Health Organization’s Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use. Between 2011–2014, Polis served as senior epidemiological advisor to the Office of Population and Reproductive Health at the United States Agency for International Development. From 2014–2021, Polis worked for the Guttmacher Institute, leading projects on sexual and reproductive health in collaboration with scientists from Malawi, Zimbabwe, Ghana, South Africa, and elsewhere. She has also worked or consulted for organizations including Ibis Reproductive Health, the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at UCSF, the International Consortium for Emergency Contraception, ETR, and the Initiative for Multipurpose Prevention Technologies.
Polis has published more than 50 publications in peer-reviewed journals and has been cited in outlets including BBC News, Time Magazine, NPR, CNN, The Economist, Kaiser Health News, Scientific American, Pacific Standard, STAT News, Buzzfeed, Cosmopolitan Magazine, and Popular Science.
Polis received her doctorate in reproductive health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and her undergraduate degree in medical anthropology from Brown University.