Esteemed HIV Prevention Expert Promoted to Chair of Epidemiology at the George Washington University

Manya Magnus, PhD, MPH, has been named Chair of the Department of Epidemiology at the Milken Institute School of Public Health

January 1, 2024

Mayna Magnus

WASHINGTON (Jan. 2, 2024) — The Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) at the George Washington University (GW) today announced that Manya Magnus, PhD, MPH, has been named Chair of the Department of Epidemiology, after an extensive national search.

Magnus, who starts January 2, now serves as a professor of epidemiology, interim Chair of the Department of Epidemiology, the principal investigator (multiple) for the NIH/DAIDS-funded DC Clinical Trials Unit (DC CTU), and co-Director of the NIH-funded DC Center for AIDS Research. For more than 30 years, Magnus has conducted applied epidemiologic research that focuses on innovative biomedical and structural interventions to prevent HIV transmission. Her work has contributed to developing novel prevention strategies for those at greatest risk of HIV, developing and evaluating unique community-based programs, increasing engagement and outreach to highly affected subpopulations, and integrating health information technology solutions in the care of people with and at risk for HIV with the ultimate goal of removing structural barriers and promoting health equity. 

“We are delighted that Dr. Magnus will serve as Chair of our Department of Epidemiology,” said Lynn Goldman, MD, MS, MPH, the Michael and Lori Milken Dean of the Milken Institute SPH. “She is an extraordinary expert in rigorous epidemiological methods, communicable disease prevention, and clinical trials. Her first profession was nursing, and Magnus combines the clinical knowledge, compassion, warmth and caring of that profession with the brilliant quantitative skills of an epidemiologist. Her guidance will steer the department toward continuing its upward trajectory in the field, making a tremendous impact, particularly in our research on implementing clinical, public health, and community-level interventions to prevent disease transmission.”

Magnus’ current research via leadership of the DC CTU involves the design and conduct of randomized controlled trials of interventions to prevent HIV and its consequences. During the pandemic, the DC CTU was invited to become part of the NIH-funded COVID-19 Prevention Network as a site for the mRNA-1273 (Moderna) SARS-CoV-2 vaccine trials, largely because of the strong foundation of trust that she and her DC CTU team had built in the DC community with its HIV prevention trials; this trust allowed them to engage a diverse sample of underrepresented participants into the clinical trial.

“I am thrilled to begin this new chapter with our vibrant faculty, staff, and students,” Magnus said. “Under Dean Goldman’s leadership, Milken Institute SPH’s commitment to innovative and highly impactful public health research is unparalleled. Within this robust environment, I look forward to supporting our outstanding Department of Epidemiology faculty as we leverage innovative methodologies to improve health around the world while educating the next generation of epidemiologists.”  

Magnus has authored 139 peer-reviewed scientific publications and manuscripts, three epidemiologic textbooks, and one lay health book.

Magnus received both her PhD and her Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from Tulane University. As an undergraduate, she majored in social psychology at the University of California, San Diego and became a licensed practical nurse (LPN) at the College of the Redwoods; Dr. Magnus continues to hold an active LPN license in Virginia.