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LaRon Nelson

Independence Foundation Professor of Nursing; Associate Professor , Social & Behavioral Health

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LaRon Nelson, PhD, RN, FAAN



Prof. LaRon E. Nelson is the Independence Foundation Associate Professor of Nursing and Associate Dean of Global Health & Equity. He also serves on the Yale Institute of Global Health’s Leadership Advisory Committee. He is also a scientist with MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions in the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. He is the inaugural holder of the Ontario HIV Treatment Network Research Chair in Implementation Science with Black Communities in Canada.

Prof. Nelson is an elected Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing. He has been honored by professional nursing organizations, including the Excellence in HIV Prevention Award by the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care and the President’s Trailblazer Award by the National Black Nurses Association. Prof Nelson was the first nurse to be named as one of Canada’s Rising Stars in Global Health for his groundbreaking research in Ghana.

His work in research and implementation science spans multiple countries. He co-founded the Central and West Africa Implementation Science Alliance (CAWISA)—a collaboration of implementation scientists and implementing agencies from Cameroon, Congo, Ghana and Nigeria aimed to improve HIV related outcomes among adolescents the region. He is also leading implementation science efforts to reduce racial disparities in HIV incidence, treatment and viral suppression among African, Caribbean, and Black communities in Canada. His work in the US focuses on the use of multi-level (e.g., social/structural, behavioral, and clinical) interventions to reduce HIV infections among Black MSM.

Prof. Nelson’s research has been funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research, National Institute of Mental Health, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Canadian Institute for Health Research, Grand Challenges Canada and the Ontario HIV Treatment Network. He is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Adolescent Health and an Associate Editor for the Global Health section of BMC Public Health. He also served a Guest Editor for the Journal of Urban Health special issue on HIV and Black MSM.

Research Interests

Prof. Nelson’s domestic and international research investigates the implementation and effectiveness of multi-level intervention strategies to reduce race and sexuality-based disparities in HIV outcomes. He is recognized as the world’s leading authority on the application of self-determination theory (SDT) for HIV prevention and care. His research also involves identifying interventions to address intersectional stigma at the organizational level and treating the traumatic effects of intersectional stigma that manifests at the individual-level.

Clinical Practice

Prof. Nelson is a public health nurse and family nurse practitioner licensed to practice (with prescriptive privileges) in the State of New York.

Selected Books/Chapters

Nelson, L. E., & Malebranche, D. J. (2017). Comprehensive primary health care with HIV positive gay men. In L. Wilton (Ed.), Understanding Prevention for HIV Positive Gay Men: Innovative Approaches in Addressing the AIDS Epidemic.New York: Springer Publishing.

Malebranche, D. J., & Nelson, L. E. (2016). Intersections of race, culture, and sexuality on health of MSM. In J. Schneider & V. Silenzio (Eds.), The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association Handbook of LGBT Health. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger Publishers.

Nelson, L. E. (2014). Foreword. In L. Wilton, R. Palmer & D. C. Maramba (Eds.), Understanding HIV and STI Prevention for College Students. New York: Routledge.

Nelson, L. E., &Morrison-Beedy, D. (2012). Conducting intervention research in public health settings. In B. M. Melnyk & D. Morrison-Beedy (Eds.), Designing, Conducting, Analyzing and Funding Intervention Research for Publication: A Practical Guide for Success, (pp. 247-254). New York: Springer.

Selected Publications

Ogunbajo, A., Leblanc, N., Kushwaha, S., Smith, M., Boakye, F., Hanson, S., & Nelson, L. E. (Accepted). Knowledge, Acceptability, and Willingness to use HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Ghana. AIDS Care.

Scott, H., Vittinghoff, E., Irvin, R., Liu, A., Nelson, L. E., del Rio, C., Magnus, M., Manheimmer, S., Fields, S. D., Van Tieu, H., Kuo, I., Shoptaw, S., Grinsztejn, B., Sanchez, J., Wakefield, S., Fuchs, J., Wheeler, D. P., Mayer, K. H., Koblin, B., & Buchbinder, S. (2019). Development and validation of the personalized sexual health promotion (SexPro) HIV risk prediction model for men who have sex with men in the United States. AIDS & Behavior. Published online: doi: 10.1007/s10461-019-02616-3.

Nguemo, J., Njoroge, I., Husbands, W., Owino, M., Wong, J., Maina, G., Kahan, M., Nelson, L. E. Substance use disorders among African Caribbean and Black (ACB) people in Canada: A scoping review protocol. (2019). BMJ Open, 9: e028985. doi:10.1136/ bmjopen-2019-028985

Nelson, L. E., Tharao, W., Husbands, W., Sa, T., & Zhang, N., Kushwaha, S., & Kaul, R. for the KALI Study Team. The epidemiology of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in African, Caribbean and Black men in Toronto, Ontario. (2019). BMC Infectious Diseases, 19(294). doi:10.1186/s12879-019-3925-3.

Zhabokritsky, A., Nelson, L. E., Tharao, W., Husbands, W., Sa, T., Zhang, N., Thomas-Pavanel, J., Baidoobonso, S., & Kaul, R. for The KALI Study Team. (2019). Acceptance of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis among African, Caribbean and Black men in Toronto. PLoS One. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0213740

Hightow-Weidman, L., Magnus, M., Beauchamp, G., Hurt, C., Shoptaw, S., Emel, L., Piwowar-Manning, E., Mayer, K. H., Nelson, L. E., Wilton, L., Watkins, P., Whitfield, D., Fields, S. D., Wheeler, D. P. (2019). Incidence and correlates of STIs among Black men who have sex with men participating in a US PrEP study.Clinical Infectious Diseases.Advance online publication: doi: 10.1093/cid/ciy1141.

Nelson, L. E., McMahon, J., Leblanc, N., Braksmajer, A., Crean, H., Smith, K., & Xue, Y. (2019). Advancing the case for nurse practitioner-based models to accelerate the scale up of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis. Journal of Clinical Nursing,28, 351-361. doi: 10.1111/jocn.14675

Nyblade, L., Stockton, M., Giger, K., Bond, V., Ekstrand, M., McLean, R., Mitchell, E. M. H., Nelson, L. E., Sapag, J. C., Siraprapasiri,T., Turan, J. M., Wouters, E. (2019). Stigma in health facilities: why it matters and how we can change it. BMC Medicine, 17:25. doi: 10.1186/s12916-019-1256-2.

Wheeler, D. P., Fields, S., Beauchamp, G., Chen, Y., Emel, L., Hightow-Weidman, L., Hucks-Ortiz, C., Kuo, I., Lucas, J. P., Magnus, M., Mayer, K. H., Nelson, L. E., Hendrix, C., Piwowar-Manning, E., Shoptaw, S., Watkins, P., Watson, C. C., & Wilton, L. (2018). Pre-exposure prophylaxis initiation and adherence among Black men who have sex with men (MSM) in three U.S. cities: Results from the HPTN 073 study.Journal of the International AIDS Society, 22(2): e25223. doi: 10.1002/jia2.25223.

Ogunbajo, A., Kershaw, T., Kushwaha, S., Boakye, F. Wallace-Attipah, N. D., & Nelson, L. E. (2018). Barriers, motivators, and facilitators to engagement in HIV care among HIV-infected Ghanaian men who have sex with men (MSM). AIDS & Behavior, 22(3):829-839. doi:10.1007/s10461-017-1806-6.

Maina, G., Strudwick, G., Lalani, Y., Boakye, F., Wilton, L., & Nelson, L. E. for the KAPPA Study Team (2018). Characterizing the structure and functions of social networks of men who have sex with men in Ghana, West Africa: Implications for Peer-Based HIV Prevention. Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care, 29(1): 70-82. doi: 10.1016/j.jana.2017.07.005.

Kushwaha, S., Lalani, Y., Maina, G., Ogunbajo, A. A., Wilton, L., Agyarko-Poku, T., Adu-Sarkodie, Y., Boakye, F. & Nelson, L. E. (2017). “But the moment they find out that you are MSM…": A qualitative investigation of HIV prevention experiences among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Ghana's health care system. BMC Public Health, 17(770): 1-18. doi: 10.1186/s12889-017-4799-1.

Nelson, L.E., Wilton, L., Moineddin, R., Zhang, N., Siddiqi, A., Sa, Ting, Harawa, N., Regan, R., Penniman Dyer, T., Watson, C. C., Koblin, B., del Rio, C., Buchbinder, S., Wheeler, D. P., & Mayer, K. H. for the HPTN 061 Study Team. (2016). Economic, legal and social hardships associated with HIV risk among Black men who have sex with men in six US Cities. Journal of Urban Health, 93: 170-188. doi:10.1007/s11524-015-0020-y.

Nelson, L. E., Wilton, L., Agyarko-Poku, T., Zhang, N., Aluoch, M., Thach, C. T., Hanson, S. O. & Adu-Sarkodie, Y. (2015). The association of HIV Stigma, HIV/STD knowledge, and sexual risk behaviors among adolescent and adult men who have sex with men in Ghana, West Africa. Research in Nursing & Health, 38:194-206. doi: 10.1002/nur.21650.

Nelson, L. E., Wilton, L., Agyarko-Poku, T., Zhang, N., Zou, Y., Aluoch, M., Apea, V., Hanson, S. O., & Adu-Sarkodie, Y. (2015). Predictors of condom use among peer social networks of men who have sex with men in Ghana, West Africa. PLoS ONE, 10(1): e0115504. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0115504

Education & Training

  • PhD
    University of Rochester, Nursing (2009)
  • MS
    University of Rochester, Nursing - Primary Care of Families (2004)
  • BS
    University of Rochester, Nursing (2002)


  • Promoting Reductions in Intesectional Stigma (PRISM) - Ghana
    Accra, Greater Accra Region, Ghana 2019
    Promoting Reductions in Intesectional Stigma (PRISM) - Ghana

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