Professor of Medicine, Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences


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). See 

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 vaccine program in spring 2021 that continues today. In 2022, Open Door Health also recently launched an MPOX hotline. Open Door Health tested, treated and diagnosed more patients with MPOX than any clinic in Rhode Island. In 2022, Open Door Health began a mental health program that serves the behavioral health needs of its diverse population. 

In 2021, in partnership with over 40 other institutions, Dr. Nunn launched NOURISH RI. NourishRI is a statewide advocacy campaign promoting a SNAP incentive program. This program proposed doubling the value of SNAP for Rhode Islanders when they use SNAP to purchase fruits and vegetables. See to learn more about this advocacy initiative. This advocacy initiative continued in 2022, and in June 2022, the RI legislature appropriated $11.5 million to fund the nation's first statewide SNAP incentive program. The program will reach approximately 140,000 Rhode Islanders who use SNAP in retail grocery stores across the state, including 40,000 children and 60,000 older adults. 

NOURISH RI draws on the scientific evidence base from Food on the MoveRIPHI's mobile produce market that serves over 5,000 low-income Rhode Islanders every year. With support from the US Department of Agriculture and the AARP Foundation, Food on the Move offers SNAP incentives that double the value of the dollar when customers buy produce with their SNAP benefits. Food on the Move has been associated with dramatic improvements in healthy eating behaviors among SNAP recipients, and is one of the largest mobile produce markets in the United States. 

Much of Dr. Nunn's research shows that exorbitant copayments and deductibles for HIV prevention medications lead people to fall out of HIV prevention services for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). PrEP consists of one pill, once a day or bi-monthly inejctions that help HIV-negative people stay HIV-negative. In 2022, Dr. Nunn led a Rhode Island advocacy effort to sponsor legislation that limits out of pocket costs for HIV prevention medications, and to allow pharmacists to prescribe PrEP.  In June 2022, Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee signed the bill into law at Open Door Health; Rhode Island now has one of the most progressive PrEP laws in the country. 

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 promote health equity and social justice. 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. In 2021, she received the Program Innovation Award from the RI Public Health Association, and in 2022, she received the Cheryl Snead Servant Leader Award from the American Heart Association. 

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 (14) and Valentina Velasco (12). 

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

  • NBC News: Open Door Health Celebrates Three Years
  • Boston Globe Podcast: On the Rhode Island Report podcast, Dr. Amy Nunn talks about polio, sugary drinks, misinformation and a bit of good news about monkeypox
  • Boston Globe: What Rhode Islanders Should Know about Monkeypox
  • Boston Globe: For some in the LGBTQAI+ community, a monkeypox vaccine offers both hope and anxiety
  • Dr. Nunn's comment on 2021 Sugar Sweetened Beverage Tax on GoLocal Providence
  • At community health clinic in Providence, improving access and care for LGBTQ+ patients
  • 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
  • Faith leaders in Jackson uniting to end HIV epidemic in the city (2023)
  • RI’s first LGBTQ-focused health clinic celebrates 2 years Brown doctors say Open Door Health takes multifaceted approach to community health care
  • Summit on RIPHI's Proposed Sugar Sweeteened Beverages Tax and SNAP Incentives
  • RI Channel 10 sugary drinks tax video
  • Mississippi Faith in Action website
  • Boston Globe: A Mural Honoring LGBTQ Icons Stands Tall in Providence
  • Link for Mississippi Faith in Action Citywide Screening Event launch
  • Nourish Rhode Island Advocacy Campaign
  • RI Researchers Link Use Of Apps Like Grindr To New HIV Cases
  • A Mural recognizing LGBTQ+ rights goes up at Open Door Health in Providence
  • 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