Mary Hawk

  • Professor and Chair
  • Faculty in Behavioral and Community Health Sciences and Infectious Diseases and Microbiology

Dr. Hawk’s work is driven by a commitment to social justice and the elimination of health inequities. As a nonprofit leader she helped to create community-developed interventions and now, in her academic role, partners with these and other organizations to research and replicate meaningful public health programs. She received the Catherine Cartier Ulrich Memorial Award for Public Health Service to the Underserved in 2011 for her work evaluating the effect of housing on viral loads of people living with HIV/AIDS. She was inducted into the Delta Omega Public Health Honor Society in 2013, is on the Editorial Board of AIDS and Behavior, and received the James L. Craig Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2016. In 2022 she was nominated for the University of Pittsburgh Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award. She teaches BCHS 2523: Public Health Program Planning and Proposal Writing and BCHS 2660: Harm Reduction Approaches in Health and Public Health Settings. Her teaching approaches are rooted in the belief that preparing students to be excellent public health professionals and researchers is one of our most important investments in public health, and that helping them learn to partner effectively with communities is critical.

Her research foci include implementation and assessment of structural interventions to improve health outcomes for oppressed populations, including those with problematic substance use and substance use disorders; program evaluation to enhance service delivery in health and public health settings; and the development of community-engaged approaches to optimize public health. Her work centers on approaches that advance health equity for historically excluded populations. She is Principal Investigator of an National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)-funded study that explores the impact of a financial management intervention on antiretroviral treatment HIV adherence among unstably housed people living with HIV. In addition to identifying novel ways to improve adherence, this study elucidates how representative payee services can be tailored to incorporate harm reduction and client-centered care. She is also Multiple Principal Investigator (MPI) of a National Institute of Drug Abuse-funded study using mixed methods to investigate experiences of stigma in healthcare settings by people living with HIV who use drugs. This work builds on a pilot study in which Dr. Hawk led a mixed methods team to develop a set of relational harm reduction principles for healthcare settings to improve provider-patient relationships and clinical outcomes for patients poorly engaged in care. She is co-founder of The Open Door, Inc., a harm reduction housing program created to improve health outcomes for chronically homeless people living with HIV who have untreated serious mental illness and harmful substance use. In this work, she published the first study to explore viral suppression as a measure of housing program effectiveness. Finally, she is Multiple Principal Investigator on two training grants: a D43 Training Grant through Fogarty International/NIMH that seeks to increase research capacity and infrastructure among junior psychiatrists in India, building on the Research Domain Criteria framework and the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Science; and a T32 Training grant titled A Training Program to Address HIV Related Health Disparities in MSM.

Accepting students and postdocs for Fall 2024 (tuition/stipend included via 5T32MH094174.)



BCHS 2523: Program Planning, Implementation and Evaluation
BCHS 2600: Harm Reduction Approaches in Health and Public Health Settings

Selected Publications