Robert Heimer, PhD

Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases) and of Pharmacology; Director, Emerging Infections Program

Departments & Organizations

School of Public Health: Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS | Connecticut Emerging Infections Program | Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases | YSPH Global Health Concentration

Faculty Research

Liver Center

Molecular Virology: Virology laboratories

Office of International Medical Student Education

Global Health Studies: HIV/AIDS

Office of Cooperative Research

Yale Institute for Global Health


Dr. Heimer's major research efforts include scientific investigation of the mortality and morbidity associated with injection drug use. Areas of investigation include syringe exchange programs, virus survival in syringes, hepatitis B vaccination, hepatitis C transmission risks, overdose prevention and resuscitation, and pharmacological treatment of opiate addiction. His research combines laboratory, operational, behavioral, and structural analyses to evaluate the effectiveness of intervention programs in preventing the negative medical consequences of injection drug use. Dr. Heimer is Director of the Interdisciplinary Research Methods Core at Yale’s Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (CIRA). His current work focuses on the contexts and consequences of drug abuse in the U.S. and Russia and attempts to provide health and prevention practitioners with information needed to assist their educational and advocacy efforts.

Dr. Heimer is also the Director of the Yale office of the Connecticut Emerging Infections Program. This Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-funded program is one of eleven programs nationwide that seek to assess, through population-based surveillance, the public health impact of emerging infectious diseases and to evaluate methods for their prevention and control in the community. The Yale program currently focuses on chronic liver disease (especially hepatitis C), foodborne illnesses, and respiratory illnesses (especially influenza, Lyme disease, and the prevention of human papillomavirus infections.

Dr. Heimer received his training in molecular biology and pharmacology at Columbia College (BA) and Yale University (MA, PhD). He began his work on the prevention of HIV among injection drug users in 1990 with an evaluation of the city-run New Haven needle exchange program and his work on emerging infections in 1995 with studies of the tick-borne agent of human ehrlichiosis.

Education & Training

PhD Yale University (1988)
MSc Yale University (1980)
BA Columbia University (1974)


  • Empowerment, Treatment, and Prevention for People who Inject Drug in Hanoi, Vietnam Ha Noi, Vietnam (2011 - 2014)

    Two studies are underway to explore the impact of changing methods of responding to injection drug use in Vietnam.

  • Influences on HIV Prevalence and Service Access Kohtle-Järve, Estonia; St. Petersburg, Russia (2010)

    Exploring barriers among people who inject drugs to prevention and care services for HIV and related medical problems.

  • AIDS/HIV, Russia Saint Petersburg, Russia (2010 - 2012)

    Developing a Scientific and Methodological Center for Research and Facilitation Efficiency Improvement of Organizations Engaged in HIV Prevention in the Russian Federation

  • HIV, Russia Saint Petersburg, Russia (2010)

    International Feasibility Study of Pharmacy-Based HIV Prevention: St. Petersburg

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