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Kathy Simmonds

Clinical Professor

Kathy Simmonds, PhD, MPH, RN, WHNP-BC, FAAN is a clinical professor in the School of Nursing within the Bouvé College of Health Sciences at the Roux Institute, where she leads the Rural Health and Health Workforce Development initiatives. She came to the Roux Institute from the MGH Institute of Health Professions (IHP) in Boston, MA where she was an associate professor and the coordinator of the women’s health/gender-related 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 founded and directed the Reproductive Options Education Consortium for Nursing (ROE). In 2015, she helped found and lead 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 a member of the Alliance for Nurses for Healthy Environments (AHNE) Global Climate Change Working Group. She has published numerous articles and book chapters on sexual and reproductive health, unintended pregnancy, abortion, and the intersections of climate change and reproductive justices. Since joining the faculty at Northeastern, Dr. Simmonds’ teaching and scholarship has expanded to rural health equity. 

Dr. Simmonds received her undergraduate degree from Cornell University, MS in nursing from the MGH Institute of Health Professions, MPH 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. In 2022, she was named as a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.

Dr. Simmonds lives on Peaks Island with her husband, son, and a menagerie of furry and feathered creatures. She is excited to be a part of the Roux Institute and Bouvé College of Health Sciences, where she brings her energy to address the health needs of people and communities in rural Maine and contribute to building health workforce capacity in the state. 

Research Overview

To date, the projects and research Dr. Simmonds has been developing at the Roux Institute are in the areas of rural health, health equity, and health workforce. Specific foci are based on community-informed priorities, including digital health literacy, social isolation/loneliness, indoor air and water quality, and telehealth access. She teaches interdisciplinary courses in rural health, and is developing new mobility learning opportunities to bring Northeastern learners to Maine, as well as developing a new pre-clinical, post-baccalaureate gap year program to bolster the state’s health workforce. 

Areas of Expertise

  • Sexual and Reproductive Health andJustice; Abortion Care
  • Climate Justice
  • Rural Health Equity


  • Atkin, K., Bernhardt, J. M., Olayinka, O., & Simmonds, K. (2023). Screening for Heat Related Illness in Pregnant People: Sample Case Study for Clinician Education. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health.
  • 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. (2022). 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 Practitioners.
  • 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.