Sonya Borrero, MD, MS

  • Professor of Medicine; Clinical and Translational Science; and Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences
  • Director, Center for Women's Health Research and Innovation
  • Associate Director, VA Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP)
  • Co-Director, VA Advanced Fellowship Program in Women’s Health

Sonya Borrero, MD, MS, is Professor of Medicine; Clinical and Translational Science; and Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences as well as the Director of the Center for Women's Health and Research Innovation (CWHRI). Dr. Borrero’s work strives to advance reproductive health equity. Her research has been funded by NIH, VA, and foundation grants and has focused on understanding multilevel influences on contraceptive and pregnancy decision making in marginalized populations in order to identify targets for social, clinical, and policy interventions that will decrease people’s risk for undesired pregnancy and augment reproductive autonomy. Her current projects include optimizing pre-pregnancy and contraceptive care provision within the VA Healthcare System; developing patient-centered digital tools to support women’s reproductive decision making and facilitate provider provision of family planning care; and advancing understanding of how social and structural factors and inequalities shape and constrain low-income men’s and women’s reproductive agency, intentions, and behaviors.

Dr. Borrero is on Twitter! Follow her at @SonyaBorrero. Outside of work, she enjoys Japanese whisky and historical fiction (preferably together).

Education & Training

  • BA, Amherst College, 1996
  • MD, Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, 2001
  • Internal Medicine Residency, University of Pittsburgh, 2004
  • General Medicine Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh, 2007
  • MS, University of Pittsburgh, 2007

Representative Publications

Borrero S, Frietsche S, Dehlendorf C. Crisis pregnancy centers: faith centers operating in bad faith. Journal of General Internal Medicine. 2019;34(1):144-145.

Crisis pregnancy centers are organizations that provide pregnancy-related counseling and support from an antiabortion perspective. While crisis pregnancy centers have a right to exist and can provide valued emotional, spiritual, and material support for some women, they often engage in practices that are dubious, even unethical.

Borrero S, Callegari LS, Zhao X, Mor MK, Sileanu FE, Switzer G, Zickmund S, Washington DL, Zephyrin LC, Schwarz EB. Unintended pregnancy and contraceptive use among women veterans: The ECUUN Study. Journal of General Internal Medicine. 2017;32(8):900-908.

While rates of contraceptive use, unmet contraceptive need, and unintended pregnancy among women veterans served by the VA are similar to those in the US population, these rates are suboptimal in both populations, with over a quarter of women who are at risk for unintended pregnancy not using prescription contraception, and unintended pregnancies accounting for over a third of all pregnancies..

Callegari LS, Zhao X, Schwarz EB, Rosenfeld E, Mor MK, Borrero S. Racial/ethnic differences in contraceptive preferences, beliefs, and self-efficacy among women veterans. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2017;16(5):504.e1-504.e10.

This study analyzed data from the Examining Contraceptive Use and Unmet Need Study, a national telephone survey of women veterans aged 18-44 years. Women veterans' contraceptive preferences, beliefs, and self-efficacy varied by race/ethnicity, which may help explain observed racial/ethnic disparities in contraceptive use and unintended pregnancy

Borrero S, Nikolajski C, Steinberg JR, Freedman L, Akers AY, Ibrahim S, Schwarz EB. "It just happens": a qualitative study exploring low-income women's perspectives on pregnancy intention and planning. Contraception. 2015;91(2):150-156.

Findings from semistructured interviews with low-income, African-American and white women suggest that the current conceptual framework that views pregnancy-related behaviors from a strict planned behavior perspective may be limited, particularly among low-income populations.

Click here for a more complete bibliography of Dr. Borrero's works.

Research Interests

  • Reproductive health equity
  • Contraception
  • Marginalized populations
  • Women's health