Dr. Hawk joined the faculty in Behavioral and Community Health Sciences in 2012 after receiving her doctoral degree that same year. Prior to the doctoral program she worked in the nonprofit sector, focusing on HIV/AIDS supportive services, grants management, and organizational leadership. 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.
Dr. Hawk’s primary research foci include implementation of structural interventions to reduce the impact of HIV and improve clinical outcomes for oppressed populations, as well as program evaluation to assess outcomes and improve service delivery in public health systems. She is the Principal Investigator of a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) funded R01 study that explores the impact of a financial management intervention on antiretroviral treatment HIV adherence among unstably housed people living with HIV (PLWH). She recently received funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse for a mixed methods R01 study exploring healthcare providers’ attitudes towards working with PLWH who use drugs as well as HIV stigma, substance use stigma, and experiences of racial discrimination encountered by PLWH in healthcare settings. The study builds on previous work she led that operationalized relational harm reduction care, (e.g., care that promotes non-punitive, autonomy-building relationships between patients and providers). In addition to elucidating ways that stigma and the provision of harm reduction care affect clinical outcomes, findings from this study will be used to develop and test an intervention to operationalize harm reduction in HIV clinical settings, using stakeholder-engaged approaches and human-centered design.
In addition, Dr. Hawk is Multiple Principal Investigator (MPI) of an NIMH-funded T32 training grant addressing HIV health disparities among sexual and gender minority men and transwomen, and of a Fogarty International/NIMH-funded D43 grant that builds psychiatric research capacity and capacity in India. In the nine years since joining the faculty at Pitt Public Health, she has mentored and/or served on the committees of more than 56 master’s students, 21 doctoral students, and 11 post-doc or junior faculty members.
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 then, in her academic role, partners with these and other organizations to research and replicate meaningful public health programs. She is co-founder of a Pittsburgh-based housing program that uses harm reduction and housing first approaches to engage chronically homeless PLWH; this was the genesis of the financial management study referenced above, which builds on local service and research to rigorously evaluate the financial management intervention. 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.