Rob Stephenson, MSc, PhD

Department Chair
Department of Systems, Populations and Leadership
Room 4170A 400NIB

University of Michigan School of Nursing
400 North Ingalls Building
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5482

Telephone: (734) 763-1188
Fax: (734) 936-5525


  • HIV
  • Sexual Health
  • Reproductive Health
  • Violence
  • Prevention development
Trained as a demographer and epidemiologist, Dr. Stephenson’s work focuses on a range of sexual and reproductive health issues globally and locally.  Dr. Stephenson’s work is centered primarily on sexual and reproductive health, with a specific focus on the development and testing of HIV prevention interventions and the intersection between violence and health. Stephenson is particularly interested in the development and testing of interventions to increase HIV prevention and HIV care engagement, and interventions that tackle the intersection of violence and sexual health. Stephenson has a long history of work in women’s sexual and reproductive health, with a specific focus on maternal health issues in resource poor countries, examining how climates of gender inequity put women at risk of poor maternal health outcomes. Stephenson is also director of The Center for Sexuality and Health Disparities

Current Research Grants and Programs

  • Project Nexus: National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): Providing online counseling for home HIV testing (PI: R01).
  • Stronger Together: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the MAC AIDS Fund (Co-PI). This project examines a couples-Based Approach to Linkage to Care and ARV Adherence.
  • Project Moxie: National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) (PI) to test motivational interviewing intervention for transgender identifying youth while they test at home for HIV.
  • iCON: Herb Ritts Foundation (Co-PI): to develops and test app-based tool kit that allows sexual and gender minority youth in Michigan to identify locally appropriate resources and to set life and health goals.
  • iCON-PLUS: National Institute of Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) (Co-PI). This project tests a life-skills based intervention for 13-17 year olds across the US, with the aiming of increasing self-efficacy for HIV prevention.
  • Get Connected: National Institute of Minority Health and Disparities (Co-PI): This project develops and tests a web-based intervention for sexual and gender minority youth in Atlanta, Houston and Philadelphia to improve the linkage to quality HIV prevention services.
  • Together Tomorrow: Department of International Development, UK and the MAC AIDS Fund: This project examines social stressors and HIV prevention and care among a sample of male couples in South Africa and Namibia.
  • Project Swerve: National Institute on Drug Abuse (Co-PI) to develop and test a motivational interviewing intervention to address substance use as a barrier to engagement in HIV prevention among sexual and gender minority youth in Michigan.


Dr. Stephenson’s teaching focuses on providing students with research skills and skills around program monitoring and evaluation. His approach to teaching is skills based, providing a space in the classroom for students to develop and practice new skills. Stephenson places a strong emphasis on mentoring, and currently mentors students at the Masters and Doctoral level. Stephenson is also involved in the training of HIV counselors and testers on couples HIV counseling and testing methods.

Affiliations / Service

  • Population Association of America, 1999-Present
  • International Union for the Scientific Study of Population
  • International AIDS Society (IAS)

Notable Awards / Honors

  • 2007 ASPH/Pfizer Early Career in Public Health Excellence in Teaching Award


  • Post-doctoral Fellowship, Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2001
  • PhD, Demography, University of Southampton, UK, 1999
  • MSc, Medical Demography, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK, 1996
  • BSc, Demography, University of Southampton, UK, 1995

Publication Highlights

  • Kalokhe A, Stephenson R, Kelley M, Dunkle KL, Paranjape A, Solas V, Karve L, del Rio C and Sahay S (2016): The Development and Validation of the Indian Family Violence and Control Scale. In Press: PLOS One. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0148120.

  • Marsack J and Stephenson R (2016): Sexuality-based stigma and depression among sexual minority individuals in rural United States. In Press: Journal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health. doi: 10.1080/19359705.2016.1233164.

  • Whitehead J, Shaver J and Stephenson R (2016): Outness, Stigma and Primary Health Care Utilization among Rural LGBT Populations. In Press: in PLOS One. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0146139.

  • Winskell K, Sabben G, Pruitt KL, Allen K, Findlay T and Stephenson R (2016): Young African’s representations of the origins of same-sex attraction and implications for sexual and mental health. In Press: Culture, Health and Sexuality. doi: 10.1080/13691058.2016.1225820.

  • Winskell K, Sabben G, Stephenson R, Pruitt KL, Allen K and Findlay T (2016): From condemnation to normalization: Young African’s narratives about same-sex attraction and implications for communication and advocacy efforts. In Press: Global Public Health. doi: 10.1080/17441692.2016.1203969.

  • Freeland R, Goldenberg T and Stephenson R (2016): Perceptions of informal and formal coping strategies for intimate partner violence among gay and bisexual men. In Press: American Journal of Men’s Health. doi: 10.1177/1557988316631965.

  • Kaloke AS, Ibegu CC, Kaur SP, Amara RR, Kelley ME, del Rio C, and Stephenson R (2016): Intimate Partner Violence is Associated with Increased CD4+ T-Cell Activation among HIV-Negative High-Risk Women, Pathogens and Immunity. 1(1): 193-213. doi: 10.20411/pai.v1i1.120.

  • Bazzi AR, Fergus KB, Stephenson R, Finneran CA, Coffey-Esquivel J, Hidalgo MA, Hoehnle S, Sullivan PS, Garofalo R and Mimiaga M (2016): Partner Steps: A dyadic behavioral intervention to optimize same sex male couples’ engagement across the HIV care continuum, JMIR. 5(3): e168. doi: 10.2196/resprot.6271.

  • Sineath C, Woodyatt C, Sanchez T, Giammattei S, Gillespie T, Hunkeler E, Owen-Smith A, Quinn VP, Roblin D, Stephenson R, Sullivan PS, Tangpricha V and Goodman M (2016): Determinants of and barriers to hormonal and surgical treatment receipt among transgender people, Transgender Health. 1(1): 129-136. doi: 10.1089/trgh.2016.0013.

  • Williams W, Goldenberg T, Andes K, Finneran C and Stephenson R (2016): He’s still with these girls’: Exploring perceptions of HIV risk among men with behaviorally bisexual male partners, Culture, Health and Sexuality. 1-13. doi: 10.1080/13691058.2016.1189595.

  • Woodyatt C and Stephenson R (2016): Emotional Intimate Partner Violence Experienced by Men in Same-Sex Relationships, Culture, Health and Sexuality. 18(10): 1137-1149.

  • Stephenson R, Freeland R and Finneran C (2016): Intimate partner violence and condom negotiation efficacy among gay and bisexual men in Atlanta' in its current form for publication in Sexual Health, Sexual Health. 13: 366-372.

  • Goldenberg T, Finneran C, Andes KL, and Stephenson R (2016): I consider being gay a very high risk factor": How perceptions of a partner's sexual identity influences perceptions of HIV risk among gay and bisexual men. Sexuality Research and Social Policy. 1-10. doi: 10.1007/s13178-016-0235-z.

  • Goldenberg T, Stephenson R and Hadley C (2016): Struggling to be the alpha: Sources of tension and intimate partner violence in same-sex relationships between men, Culture, Health and Sexuality. 18(8): 875-889. doi: 10.1080/13691058.2016.1144791.

  • Woodyatt C, Finneran C and Stephenson R (2016): In-Person versus Online Focus Group Discussions: A Comparative Analysis of Data Quality, Qualitative Health Research. 26(6): 741-749. doi: 10.1177/1049732316631510.