Rob Stephenson, Ph.D., MSc, MA

Rob Stephenson

Department of Systems, Populations and Leadership
Room 4351 NURS1

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

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

In the news


  • Sexual and reproductive health
  • Intimate partner violence
  • HIV prevention
  • Sexual and gender minority health
  • Intervention development and testing

Trained as a demographer and epidemiologist, Dr. Stephenson’s work focuses on the sexual and reproductive health of vulnerable populations.  Dr. Stephenson’s work is centered primarily on the development and testing of interventions that aim to improve sexual health outcomes, with a particular focus on HIV prevention among sexual and gender minority populations in the US and globally. His work seeks to understand the intersections between stigma, violence and sexual health, with the aim of developing interventions that disrupt the negative pathways between stigma, violence and poor sexual health outcomes – particularly for groups at high risk of HIV. Stephenson’s work includes the development of a range of intervention forms and modalities, including telehealth, eHealth and mHealth and counseling and motivational interviewing-based interventions. In addition to his work with sexual health among sexual and gender minority groups, Stephenson has a long history of work in women’s sexual and reproductive health, with a specific focus on family planning and maternal health issues in resource poor countries, examining how climates of gender inequity put women at risk of poor reproductive health outcomes. 

Current Research Grants and Programs

  • Tailoring Healthy Relationships to Improve HIV Treatment Outcomes for MSM in Eastern Cape, South Africa. National Institute of Mental Health (R34) (MPI Stephenson and Daniels)
  • Violence and viral suppression among men living with HIV. National Institute of Mental Health (R01) (PI Stephenson)
  • HIV prevention and care for couples in South Africa. National Institute of Mental Health (R01) (MPI Darbes and Stephenson)
  • Expanding the potential of couples HIV testing: Adjunct modules to reduce drug use among vulnerable male couples. National Institute of Mental Health (R01) (PI: Starks, Co-I: Stephenson)
  • Expansion of NCD Research Capacity in Thailand with Outreach to Indonesia. Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health. (D43) (MPI Stephenson, Potempa, Singha-Dong and Rajataramya)
  • Understanding intimate partner violence among transgender populations. National Institute of Child Health and Development (R21) (Stephenson and Peitzmeier)
  • Reducing HIV vulnerability through a multilevel life skills intervention for young men. National Institute of Child Health and Development (U01) (MPI: Bauermeister, Stephenson and Sullivan
  • Optimizing HIV testing through a substance use brief intervention. National Institute on Drug Abuse (R01) (MPI: Bauermeister and Stephenson)
  • We Prevent: A Relationship Skills Intervention for Young Male Couples. National Institute of Child Health and Development (U19: MPI Hightow-Weidman and Sullivan) (MPI: Stephenson and Gamarel)


Dr. Stephenson’s teaching focuses on providing students with skills around program monitoring and evaluation, analyzing and interpreting population-level data, and issues in sexual and reproductive health. 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, Doctoral and post-Doctoral levels. Stephenson is also involved in the training of HIV counselors and testers on couples HIV counseling and testing methods.

Affiliations / Service

  • Member: Population Association of America
  • Member: International Union for the Scientific Study of Population
  • Member: International AIDS Society (IAS)
  • Member: American Association of Public Health
  • Member: Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing

Notable Awards / Honors

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


  • Ph.D., Southampton University, UK, Demography,1999
  • MSc, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK, Medical Demography,1996
  • MA, Savannah College of Art and Design: Photography, 2017
  • BSc, Southampton University, UK: Demography, 1992

Publication Highlights

  • Stephenson R, Darbes LA, Chavanduka TMD, Essack Z and van Rooyen H: HIV Testing, Knowledge and Willingness to use PrEP among partnered men who have sex with men in South Africa and Namibia. AIDS and Behavior, 2021.

  • Stephenson R, Garofalo R, Sullivan PS, Hidalgo MA, Bazzi A, Hoehnle S, Bratcher A, Finneran K and Mimiaga MJ. Stronger Together: Results from a randomized controlled efficacy trial of a dyadic intervention to improve engagement in HIV care among serodiscordant male couples in three US cities. AIDS and Behavior, 2021.

  • Stephenson R, Darbes LA, Rosso MT, Washington C, Hightow-Weidman LB, Sullivan PS, and Gamarel KE. Perceptions and contexts of intimate partner violence among young, partnered gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men in the United States. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 17 March 2021.

  • Stephenson R, Darbes LA, Chavanduka TMD, Essack Z and van Rooyen H (in press): Intimate Partner Violence among Male Couples in South Africa and Namibia. Journal of Family Violence, 2021.

  • Stephenson R., Chanvanduka TMD, Rosso MT, Sullivan SP, Pitter RA, Hunter AS, and Rogers E): Sex in the time of COVID-19: Results of an online survey of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men’s experience of sex and HIV prevention during the US COVID-19 epidemic. AIDS and Behavior, 2021.

  • Stephenson, R., Chavanduka, T., Rosso, M. T., Sullivan, S. P., Pitter, R. A., Hunter, A. S., & Rogers, E. (2020). Contrasting the Perceived Severity of COVID-19 and HIV Infection in an Online Survey of Gay, Bisexual, and Other Men Who Have Sex With Men During the U.S. COVID-19 Epidemic. American Journal of Men's Health, 14(5).

  • Stephenson, R., Todd, K., Kahle, E., Sullivan, S. P., Miller-Perusse, M., Sharma, A., & Horvath, K. J. (2020). Project Moxie: Results of a Feasibility Study of a Telehealth Intervention to Increase HIV Testing Among Binary and Nonbinary Transgender Youth. AIDS and behavior, 24(5), 1517–1530.

  • Stephenson, R., Bratcher, A., Mimiaga, M. J., Garofalo, R., Hidalgo, M. A., Hoehnle, S., & Sullivan, P. S. (2020). Brief Report: Accuracy in Self-Report of Viral Suppression Among HIV-Positive Men With HIV-Negative Male Partners. Journal of acquired immune deficiency syndromes, 83(3).

  • Stephenson, R., Sullivan, S., Sharma, A., & Kahle, E. (2020). Discordant Reporting of Partner Labels, HIV Testing and Sexual Behavior Among a Sample of Partnered Men Who have Sex with Men in the US. AIDS and behavior, 24(2), 540–550.

  • Stephenson, R., Sharma, A., Mimiaga, M., Garofalo, R., Brown, E., Bratcher, A., Wimbly, T., Hidalgo, M., Hoehnle, S., Thai, J., Sullivan, S, & Suarez, N. (2019). Concordance in the reporting of intimate partner violence among male-male couples in the United States. Journal of Family Violence, 34(7), 677–686.

  • Stephenson, R., Gonsalves, L., Askew, I., & Say, L. (2017). Detangling and detailing sexual health in the SDG era. The Lancet, 390(10099), 1014–1015.

  • Stephenson, R., & Finneran, C. (2017). Receipt and perpetration of intimate partner violence and condomless anal intercourse among gay and bisexual men in Atlanta. AIDS & Behavior, 21(8), 2253–2260.

  • Stephenson, R., Riley, E., Rogers, E., Suarez, N., Metheny, N., Senda, J., & Bauermeister, J. (2017). The sexual health of transgender men: A scoping review. Journal of Sex Research: Annual Review of Sex Research, 54(4–5), 424–445.

  • Stephenson, R., & Finneran, C. (2017). Minority stress and intimate partner violence among gay and bisexual men in Atlanta. American Journal of Men’s Health, 11(4), 952–961.

  • Stephenson, R., Freeland, R., & 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(4), 366–372.