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 on how to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in HIV infection, treatment and care. With colleagues, she oversees two pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) implementation science programs in Providence, Rhode Island and Jackson, Mississippi. She also conducts HIV and Hepatitis C (HCV) prevention research about how to best link people living with HCV and HIV to medical care.

Dr. Nunn is best known for her innovative community partnerships to address disparities, including engaging clergy and community leaders in HIV testing, treatment and social marketing campaigns. 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.

Dr. Nunn founded a coalition of clergy in Philadelphia, PA who work collaboratively to reduce racial disparities in HIV infection. Dr. Nunn expanded her work with clergy by establishing Mississippi Faith in Action, a similar coalition based in the heart of the Bible Belt in Jackson, Mississippi. Dr. Nunn now also oversees a study focused on partnerships with African American clergy to promote HIV screening, treatment and care in geographic hotspots of infection in Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama.

Dr. Nunn is also Executive Director of the Rhode Island Public Health Institute (RIPHI). RIPHI's mission is to promote community health and to eliminate health disparities in Rhode Island and beyond. RIPHI oversees community service projects, conducts translational and policy research, hosts public health advocacy programs, and trains students and public health practitioners. RIPHI's current portfolio focuses on reducing food insecurity, responding to the nation's HCV epidemic, encouraging active living, engaging clergy in public health programs, and many other issues. See In 2020, RIPHI launched Open Door Health, Rhode Island's first LGBTQ clinic. For more information, visit Open Door Health provides primary and sexual health care to Rhode Island's diverse population. Open Door Health remains open during the COVID-19 pandemic and offers telemedicine services. Open Door Health launched a new COVID-19 screening center and will launch a COVID vaccine program in March 2021. 

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 new investigators in the Deep South. 

A social scientist by training, she 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 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 other institutions. She received the "Outstanding New Researcher Award" at the 2009 CDC HIV Prevention Conference and an NIH Career Development Award in 2010.

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 (11) and Valentina Velasco (9). 

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 in New York Times: How Churches Fight the Stigma of HIV
  • Health Care for All: Providence Monthly
  • Reuters and NYT: Misleading Facebook Ads Turn People Away from HIV Prevention
  • City of Providence Announces Launch of Open Door Health Test Site
  • Dr. Nunn's comment on 2021 Sugar Sweetened Beverage Tax on GoLocal Providence
  • New York Times: My Struggle to Take Anti-HIV Medicine
  • Dr Nunn's comment on Sugar Sweetened Beverage Tax on GoLocal Providence
  • Summit on RIPHI's Proposed Sugar Sweeteened Beverages Tax and SNAP Incentives
  • RI Researchers Link Use Of Apps Like Grindr To New HIV Cases
  • RI Public Radio: New Report Finds Hep C Epidemic In Rhode Island
  • 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
  • Turnto10: SNAP recipients to save money on fruits, veggies
  • 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