Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has appointed Tiara C. Willie, PhD, MA, as a Bloomberg Assistant Professor of American Health in the Department of Mental Health. This is an endowed position supported by the Bloomberg American Health Initiative through a gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Tiara Willie headshotTiara C. Willie is a social epidemiologist examining the etiology and health consequences of gender-based violence among populations at risk of or currently experiencing violence, domestically and globally. Her research investigates determinants of victimization and perpetration—at the individual, relationship, community, and societal levels—in order to develop primary interventions. She aims to better understand mechanisms linking victimization and poor mental, sexual, and reproductive health in order to develop effective, evidence-based interventions.

“Dr. Willie’s focus on understanding and addressing gender-based violence is so needed, as our country continues to wrestle with these issues,” says Dean Ellen J. MacKenzie, PhD, ScM. “We warmly welcome Dr. Willie to the Bloomberg School and congratulate her on this honor.”

Willie has a strong interest in building community partnerships across sectors in order to address the complex social and health needs of survivors of gender-based violence. She is leading an interdisciplinary collaborative to develop and evaluate a trauma-informed HIV prevention program for Black women.

“Dr. Willie’s work helping to implement evidence-based interventions among women experiencing gender-based violence, particularly Black women, made clear the roles that mental and behavioral health play in their health and their ability to seek and receive interventions,” says M. Daniele Fallin, PhD, chair of the Department of Mental Health. “Mental health and substance use challenges, among both women and their partners, are consequences of violence and risk factors for additional violence and poor health.”

Willie earned her BS in Biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, her MA in Women’s Studies at Southern Connecticut State University, and her PhD at Yale University School of Public Health in Chronic Disease Epidemiology and Social and Behavioral Sciences. She worked as a research assistant at the Yale School of Medicine from 2012 to 2014, supporting federally funded projects designed to examine individual- and structural-level factors that impact the health of women experiencing intimate partner violence, including sexual risk, HIV vulnerability, and depression.

“Dr. Willie seeks to shed light on some of the most serious and important challenges in the area of violence,” says Joshua M. Sharfstein, MD, director of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative. “Her work will help many communities design new types of solutions that protect health and save lives.”

In 2016, Willie earned the Surgeon General C. Everett Koop HIV/AIDS Research Award and the Dean’s Emerging Scholars Research Award at Yale. In 2018, she was inducted into the Edward A. Bouchet Honor Society, and in 2019, she was selected as a health disparities research scholar through NIMHD’s Health Disparities Research Institute.

“Gender-based violence is a scourge that affects communities everywhere, and Dr. Willie’s work is critical to combatting it,” says Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies. “I’m glad to join Johns Hopkins in congratulating Dr. Willie on her new appointment and welcoming her to the Bloomberg School.”

This professorship endowment is part of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative, which is supporting 25 new endowed positions. The Initiative focuses on addressing major health challenges facing the nation, including obesity and the food system, environmental challenges, addiction, violence, and adolescent health.