Julia Lehnert

Julia M. Lehnert, PhD, RN

Julia M. Lehnert, PhD, RN


Academic interests

Julia’s research interest is women’s mental health, a global health priority established by the World Health Organization as the burden of mental health conditions in women living in low and middle-income countries is high and growing. She is interested in focusing on humanitarian settings and underserved groups, thereby aiding to achieve reconciliation in global mental health disparities. There is a distinctive complexity in women’s mental health as needs change with age and she seeks to apply a life course approach, as well as understand exposures to biologic and social stressors; diagnostic and treatment barriers; and psychosocial adversity as it relates with onset and trajectory of disorders on a global level.


Julia’s intent to pursue a Doctor of Philosophy degree specializing in Global Health is based on her longstanding commitment to public health. As a registered nurse, public health leader, community volunteer, family member and friend, she became aware of the public health issues that women confront today, and the surrounding tragedy associated with mental illness, especially as it affects women from underserved, low-socioeconomic, and diverse backgrounds.

She served in a leadership position as the Director of Public Health Clinics for the Nashville Public Health Department and offered oversight of health services for underserved and diverse populations, worked to advance health equity, and supported women presenting challenges based upon multifaceted domains: biologic, socioeconomic, and trauma origins that create unique issues and unmet needs. Previously as a Nurse Manager at the University of Washington Medical Center, she directed multiple clinics dedicated to addressing health concerns concomitant with high-risk obstetrics and improving maternal fetal health outcomes. Her experience also includes quantitative and qualitative research, collaborative grant funding efforts, program implementation and monitoring, and policy evaluation. She has performed clinically as a registered nurse specializing in neonatal intensive care, public health, and acute inpatient psychiatry.


Julia is an honored recipient of a Provost’s Distinguished Graduate Fellowship at Oregon State University. She earned a Master of Public Health from the University Washington where she was awarded a scholarship and graduated with honors. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of New Mexico where she was granted a merit scholarship, graduated with summa cum laude honors, and received the Psychiatric Excellence in Nursing Award.