Susan Davies, PhD, MEd

Interim Dean, Associate Dean for Research, Professor

Elk Place, Room 322-A
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Dr. Susan Davies comes to us from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she directed their CDC-funded Prevention Research Center and had scientific appointments in seven other centers, including their Center for AIDS Research (CFAR), Minority Health Research Center (MHRC), and Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences. She has led twelve studies as PI and served as co-PI or Investigator or numerous others.

Her research focuses on reducing HIV/STI’s and unintended pregnancy among adolescents, and promoting maternal mental health, particularly among those living in poverty. Her expertise in intervention development and evaluation has led to multiple interdisciplinary research projects and collaborations. She has studied HIV and its prevention from many perspectives, including reducing sexual risk behaviors among early adolescent girls; reducing secondary transmission of HIV among women living with HIV; identifying community barriers to HIV prevention among disenfranchised African American young adult males; and increasing family functioning of mothers and families affected by HIV.

More recently, her work has examined family patterns and neighborhood factors associated with adolescent risk and resilience. She has been a mentor on five K-awards for junior faculty members of various disciplines, in Medicine, Surgery, Public Health, Nursing and Psychology.  She has chaired 15 dissertation committees and served on more than 40 others of students from many different departments across campus.

Areas of Expertise

  • Behavioral Health
  • Community Organizing and Advocacy
  • Ecological/Ecosystemic Risk & Protective Factors
  • HIV/AIDS & Hepatitis C
  • Parenting
  • Program Development and Evaluation
  • Public Health
  • Qualitative and Mixed Method Research
  • Research
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • Wellness/Well-being


  • PhD in Health Education & Promotion from University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • MEd from George Mason University 
  • BS in Health Education from Florida State University 

Selected Publications

  • Davies, S.L., Smith, T.L., Murphy, B., Crawford, M.S., Kaiser, K.A., & Clay, O.J. (2020). CITY Health II: Using Entertainment Education and Social Media to Reduce HIV among Emerging Adults: A Protocol Paper for the Beat HIVe Project. Contemporary Clinical Trials.
  • Sakai-Bizmark, R., Richmond, T. K., Kawachi, I., Elliott, M. N., Davies, S. L., Tortolero Emery, S., Peskin, M., Milliren, C. E., & Schuster, M. A. (2020). School Social Capital and Tobacco Experimentation Among Adolescents: Evidence From a Cross-Classified Multilevel, Longitudinal Analysis. The Journal of adolescent health : official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine66(4), 431–438.
  • Corcoran, J.L., Davies, S.L., Knight, C.C., Lanzi, R.G., Li, P., & Ladores, S.L. (2020). Adolescents' preceptions of sexual health education programs: An integrative review. Journal of Adolescence
  • Cutillo, A., Zimmerman, K., Davies, S., Madan-Swain, A., Landier, W., Arynchyna, A., & Rocque, B. G. (2020). Caregiver-provider communication after resection of pediatric brain tumors. Journal of Neurosurgery. Pediatrics, 1–7. Advance online publication.
  • Orihuela, C. A., Mrug, S., Davies, S., Elliott, M. N., Tortolero Emery, S., Peskin, M. F., Reisner, S., & Schuster, M. A. (2020). Neighborhood Disorder, Family Functioning, and Risky Sexual Behaviors in Adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence49(5), 991–1004.
  • Wise, J. M., Ott, C., Azuero, A., Lanzi, R. G., Davies, S., Gardner, A., Vance, D. E., & Kempf, M. C. (2019). Barriers to HIV Testing: Patient and Provider Perspectives in the Deep South. AIDS and behavior23(4), 1062–1072.
  • Merlin, J.S., Young, S.R., Johnson, M.O., Saag, M., Demonte, W., Kerns, R., Bair, M.J., Kertesz, S., Turan, J.M., Kilgore, M., Clay, O.J., Pekmezi, D., & Davies, S. L. (2018). Intervention Mapping to Develop a Social Cognitive Theory-based Intervention for Chronic Pain Tailored to Individuals with HIV. Contemporary Clinical Trials Communications, 10, 9-16.
  • Tucker, J.A., Simpson, C.A., Chandler, S.D., Borch, C.A., Davies, S.L., Kerbawy, S.J., Lewis, T.L., Crawford, M.S., Cheong, J.W., Michael, M. (2016). Utility of Respondent Driven Sampling to Reach Disadvantaged Emerging Adults for Assessment of Substance Use, Weight, and Sexual Behaviors. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 27(1):194-208.
  • Johnson, E.R., Davies, S.L., Aban, I., Mugavero, M.J., Shrestha, S., & Kempf, M.C. (2015). Improving parental stress levels among mothers living with HIV: A randomized control group intervention study. AIDS Patient Care and STDs, 29(4):220-8.
  • Davies, S.L., Cheong, J., Lewis, T.H., Simpson, C.A., Chandler, S.D., Tucker, J.A. (2014). Sexual Risk Typologies among Urban African American Youth in the Southern United States: Relationships with Early Parenthood and STI Outcomes. Sexually Transmitted Infections, 90(6): 475-7.

Selected Funding

  • 2019-2024, Investigator, Community Health through Engagement and Environmental Renewal: CHEER ($555,000 per year for five years), CDC Prevention Research Center
  • 2020-2025, Investigator, Prenatal Behavioral Intervention to Prevent Maternal CMV in Pregnancy ($467,000 per year for five years), NIH/NICHD
  • 2014-2019, Community Influences Transition of Youth: CITY Health II ($416,000 per year for five years), CDC Prevention Research Center
  • 2012-2017, Neurobiological Mechanisms of Lower Internalizing Disorders in Black Americans ($350,000 per year for five years), National Institute of Mental Health