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Paul Burns, PhD, MS

Paul Burns.jpg

Assistant Professor
Director, MS Program in Population Health Science
(601) 815-9016


Dr. Paul Burns is a social and behavioral scientist with expertise in the social epidemiology of HIV/AIDS. Dr. Burns utilizes epidemiological tools and methods to describe and link socio-demographic and neighborhood characteristics to sexual risk behaviors that increase HIV vulnerability among racial/ethnic and sexual minorities. He received his PhD from University of Michigan, where he examined the impact of social and environmental factors on sexual risk behavior among youth in South Africa.

Upon completion of his doctoral studies, Dr. Burns was a postdoctoral fellow at the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan where he examined the role of neighborhood-level drivers on HIV/AIDS and the impact of social protection schemes on youth sexual risk behavior. He also was a NIH/Fogarty International Global Health Postdoctoral Fellow at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) where he conducted research examining the benefits of anthelminthic therapy on HIV-1 disease progression in sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr. Burns has over 10 years of experience in the area HIV prevention research and has conducted numerous research and evaluation projects across a range of local, federal, and international public and non-profit organizations providing expertise in HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, translational research, M&E, and community engagement in Kenya, South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique and Angola.

Research interests

  • Sexual and reproductive health
  • Population health
  • Maternal and child health
  • Social and economic inequality
  • Neighborhood/area effects
  • The built environment
  • Neighborhood structural disadvantage
  • Social determinants of health
  • Racial/ethnic health disparities

Recent publications