Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Professor of Medicine


Dr. Amy Nunn is a Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences at the Brown University School of Public Health. She holds a secondary appointment in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Brown University Medical School. She is also the Executive Director of the Rhode Island Public Health Institute (RIPHI).

Dr. Nunn conducts applied research and leads public health programs focused on enhancing health equity and reducing racial disparities. In 2020, RIPHI launched Open Door Health, Rhode Island's first LGBTQ clinic: See Open Door Health provides primary and sexual health care to Rhode Island's diverse population. Open Door Health launched a new COVID-19 screening center and launched a COVID vaccine program in spring 2021. 

In 2021, in partnership with over 40 other institutions, Dr. Nunn launched NourishRI. NourishRI is a statewide advocacy campaign promoting a SNAP incentive program. This program would double the value of SNAP for Rhode Islanders when they use SNAP to purchase fruits and vegetables. This program that would be financed with a sugary drinks tax. See to learn more about this advocacy initiative.

Dr. Nunn is also Principal Investigator of an NIH grant focused on training African Americans and Latinx scholars in community and clinical research related to HIV/AIDS, with a focus on training the next generation of scientific investigators in the Deep South. 

Dr. Nunn is best known for her innovative community partnerships to address health disparities. In recent years, she oversaw  a comprehensive, neighborhood-based HIV and HCV prevention and treatment program called Do One Thing that screened over 10,000 individuals for HIV and HCV.  Do One Thing responded to unmet needs for testing and treatment in a Philadelphia neighborhood with high rates of HIV and HCV infection. She's also led several health promotion programs with black pastors to promote HIV and COVID testing in the Deep South; this program is entitled Faith in Action. See 

A social scientist by training, Dr. Nunn has worked in several countries and conducted domestic and international research on a variety of health topics, including HIV/AIDS, access to reproductive health services, and family planning. Dr. Nunn has also conducted global health policy research that explores how politics, economics and intellectual property rights affect AIDS policy and access to medicines in developing countries. She is the author of the book The Politics and History of AIDS Treatment in Brazil, whose foreword was written by Brazilian President Fernando Cardoso, and which was published in 2009 by Springer. She has also written numerous peer-reviewed articles about Brazil's AIDS treatment program.

Dr. Nunn has received research and service grants from the National Institutes of Health, the US Departments of Defense, Agriculture and Education, the Rhode Island Foundation, the MAC AIDS Fund, AARP Foundation, the American Heart Association, and the Center for Science and Public Interest, among many other institutions. She received the "Outstanding New Researcher Award" at the 2009 CDC HIV Prevention Conference and an NIH Career Development Award in 2010. She received an award from Brown University School of Public Health for her community service related to public health. 

Dr. Nunn holds masters and doctoral degrees from the Harvard School of Public Health and is a former Fulbright Scholar. She speaks fluent Spanish and Portuguese. She is the proud mother of Agustin Velasco (12) and Valentina Velasco (10). 

Dr. Nunn is a proud alumna of Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas and also loves working on racial justice issues. 

Brown Affiliations

Research Areas

On the Web

  • Dr. Nunn's comment on 2021 Sugar Sweetened Beverage Tax on GoLocal Providence
  • Dr. Nunn's GoLocal Interview: NourishRI and why now is the time for a sugary drinks tax
  • Boston Globe: How a tax on sugary drinks could help address public health and hunger in R.I
  • Summit on RIPHI's Proposed Sugar Sweeteened Beverages Tax and SNAP Incentives
  • RI Channel 10 sugary drinks tax video
  • Nourish Rhode Island Advocacy Campaign
  • RI Researchers Link Use Of Apps Like Grindr To New HIV Cases
  • Turnto10: SNAP recipients to save money on fruits, veggies
  • RI Public Radio: New Report Finds Hep C Epidemic In Rhode Island
  • Dr. Nunn in New York Times: How Churches Fight the Stigma of HIV
  • Reuters and NYT: Misleading Facebook Ads Turn People Away from HIV Prevention
  • City of Providence Announces Launch of Open Door Health Test Site
  • New York Times: My Struggle to Take Anti-HIV Medicine
  • Health Care for All: Providence Monthly
  • Dr. Nunn's book: 'The Politics and History of AIDS Treatment in Brazil'
  • Lancet review of 'The Politics and History of AIDS Treatment in Brazil'
  • CNN: Brazil faces fresh HIV/AIDS fight
  • Newsweek: The Case for Treating Drug Addicts in Prison
  • NYT Letter to the Editor: A Supreme Court Ruling on Prison Crowding
  • Video: Brown University and Dr. Nunn announce major HIV testing and care commitment at 2012 Clinton Global Initiative
  • Dr. Nunn's Huffington Post Blog
  • Brown Medical Magazine: Testing 19143
  • CNN: Knocking on doors to end HIV in Philadelphia
  • Clarion Ledger: Sharpton attends AIDS town hall in Jackson
  • ProJo: World AIDS Day: HIV cases increasing in R.I
  • NPR: Political Roundtable at Rhode Island Public Radio
  • NPR: Mobile markets bring affordable produce to low-income neighborhoods
  • NPR: Health Officials Set New Targets For HIV/AIDS Treatment, Diagnosis
  • ProJo: Report - Bristol County residents are healthiest in R.I