Esteemed Global HIV Prevention Expert Joins the George Washington University

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 12, 2020) – The Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) at the George Washington University (GW) today announced that Deanna Kerrigan, PhD, MPH, has been named Chair of the Department of Prevention and Community Health.

Kerrigan, who starts July 1, now serves as a professor of sociology and director of the Center on Health, Risk and Society at American University. For more than 25 years, Kerrigan has studied social and structural factors that impact the health and well-being of marginalized populations worldwide, including stigma, discrimination and violence. An expert on HIV prevention, she has led studies to develop comprehensive public health interventions among underserved women in Latin America, the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa.

“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Kerrigan to our school,” said Lynn Goldman, MD, MS, MPH, the Michael and Lori Milken Dean of the Milken Institute SPH. “She is an extraordinary expert in preventative health measures, and I know her guidance will steer the department toward making a tremendous impact, particularly in our research related to the social determinants of health.”

Kerrigan’s current research includes a project supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) that aims to examine the multiple forms of social stigma facing women living with HIV in the Dominican Republic and Tanzania, and the role that community empowerment and mobilization can play to improve their health outcomes. She is also working on studies that examine long-acting injectable anti-retroviral therapy to treat HIV and pre-exposure prophylaxis in the United States and around the world.

“I’m thrilled to join the extraordinary faculty, staff and students at Milken Institute School of Public Health,” Kerrigan said. “I look forward to working with my new colleagues to develop and evaluate innovative approaches to generating positive social and behavioral change to impact the health and lives of underserved communities globally.” 

Kerrigan has authored over 130 peer-reviewed scientific publications and manuscripts, including her recent book, “Structural Dynamics of HIV: Risk, Resilience and Response.”

Kerrigan serves as an executive committee member of the DC Center for AIDS Research (DC CFAR), based at Milken Institute SPH. One of 19 centers nationwide funded by the National Institutes of Health to conduct HIV-related research, DC CFAR is a partnership between eight institutions in the District of Columbia and represents 227 investigators.

Kerrigan previously co-directed the Prevention Core of the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Center for AIDS Research. She was on faculty at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health for 15 years, where she also led a global HIV prevention implementation science project called Research to Prevention (R2P). Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), R2P included 30 research projects across 18 low- and middle-income countries.

As a U.S. Fulbright Scholar, Kerrigan studied the social context of Zika in Brazil, including how it impacted women’s reproductive decisions. Kerrigan has also served on multiple World Health Organization and other United Nations agency working groups and as a program officer for the Ford Foundation, working on sexual and reproductive health and rights in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Kerrigan received her PhD in social and behavioral interventions and international health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and her Master of Public Health from the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.