Emily Arnold, PhD


My research interests lie at the intersections of culture and health behavior, particularly as this relates to gender, sexuality, and HIV-related risk behavior. Much of my work has been concerned with sexual culture among gay and bisexual men, and its influence on sexual identity, sexual behavior, and HIV-related risk practices. I am also interested in identifying culturally appropriate HIV prevention intervention mechanisms to reach young gay and bisexual men. Over the past several years, I have also become committed to using community collaborative research approaches to alleviate health disparities, particularly those impacting ethnic and sexual minority communities. Building on my interest in teaching and mentoring, I have also become formally involved in the Visiting Professors program at CAPS, which is supported through several R25 training mechanisms, and is devoted to alleviating health disparities by broadening the pipeline of scholars from marginalized communities who are able to conduct rigorous research.

One of my primary research agendas has been related to examining social networks and social support in the ballroom community, which consists of family-like houses, in the Bay Area. With additional quantitative training I obtained through my K award, I have explored the implications that houses and gay families, operationalized as social networks, may have on the provision of social support for young African American gay and bisexual men and its association with HIV-related risk behavior. This innovative project consisted of a two year ethnographic study to provide the foundation for the development of population-specific measures of social networks and social support, which were then fielded in a cross sectional quantitative survey in the final phase of the study. The ballroom community offers HIV prevention researchers and interventionists a unique and culturally appropriate avenue for reaching young African American gay and bisexual men, building on indigenous forms of social support already circulating through social networks in the community.

Another area of research involves the development and testing of HIV prevention interventions for African American men who have sex with men (MSM), including those who do not necessarily identify as gay. I am currently the Principal Investigator on a NIMH R01 to rigorously test such an intervention using a randomized controlled trial. Together with CAL-PEP, a community-based organization in Oakland, we have developed the Bruthas Project, a four session counseling intervention for African American men who have sex with men and women (MSM/W). As part of the randomized controlled trial, we have recruited 400 African American MSM/W across the Bay Area, 200 of whom receive the Bruthas Project intervention, 200 of whom receive standard HIV testing and counseling. The men are followed over 9 months, with assessments at baseline, 3 months and 6 months follow-up. We hope to demonstrate that men enrolled in the Bruthas Project have less HIV-related sexual risk behavior and more regular HIV testing than men enrolled in the control group. We have also recently been funded to explore the unique issues facing HIV positive men in our cohort, to learn about their experiences with accessing and remaining engaged in care, so that we may be able to develop additional sessions to support healthy practices for those men who are already diagnosed with HIV.

In recent years, I have become interested in issues pertaining to health care systems through my work with the AIDS Policy Research Center at CAPS, particularly focusing on publicly-funded sources of healthcare insurance for the poor and chronically underserved. As part of examining the impact of the Affordable Care Act on the accessibility of HIV-specialty care and treatment for low income individuals living with HIV in the State of California, we conducted a qualitative study of healthcare providers, county-level adminstrators, case workers, and people living with HIV to ascertain facilitators and barriers to remaining in care. This work was recently published in PLoS One. We are currently engaged in a follow up study examining a health insurance premium payment program for low income people with HIV which is administered by the State Office of AIDS. This is also a qualitative study and we will be broadly disseminating findings from this evaluation to policy makers, advocates, as well as other policy researchers throughout the State of California.
2021 - Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Champion Training, University of California
Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2007 - Medicine, University of California
PhD, 2004 - Sociomedical Sciences (Anthropology), Columbia University
MA, 2000 - Sociomedical Sciences (Anthropology), Columbia University
BA, 1996 - College of Social Studies, Wesleyan University
  1. Becker N, Kim HC, Bright DJ, Williams Iii R, Anguera JA, Arnold EA, Saberi P, Neilands TB, Pollack LM, Tan JY. Acceptability of the LetSync App Wireframes for an mHealth Intervention to Improve HIV Care Engagement and Treatment Among Black Partnered Sexual Minority Men: Findings from In-Depth Qualitative Interviews. JMIR formative research 2023. PMID: 37624634

  2. Ondocsin J, Ciccarone D, Moran L, Outram S, Werb D, Thomas L, Arnold EA. Insights from Drug Checking Programs: Practicing Bootstrap Public Health Whilst Tailoring to Local Drug User Needs. International journal of environmental research and public health 2023. PMID: 37297603

  3. Thomas MD, Vittinghoff E, Koester KA, Dahiya P, Riano NS, Cournos F, Dawson L, Olfson M, Pinals DA, Crystal S, Walkup J, Shade S, Mangurian C, Arnold EA. Examining the Impact of State-Level Factors on HIV Testing for Medicaid Enrollees with Schizophrenia. Journal of acquired immune deficiency syndromes (1999) 2023. PMID: 37229531

  4. McCuistian C, Fokuo JK, Dumoit Smith J, Sorensen JL, Arnold EA. Ethical Dilemmas Facing Substance Use Counselors During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Substance abuse : research and treatment 2023. PMID: 36923068

  5. Walkup J, Thomas MD, Vittinghoff E, Hermida R, Crystal S, Arnold EA, Dahiya P, Olfson M, Cournos F, Dawson L, Dilley J, Bazazi A, Mangurian C. Characteristics and Trends in HIV Testing Among Medicaid Enrollees Diagnosed as Having Schizophrenia. Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.) 2023. PMID: 36852552

  6. Sterrett-Hong EM, Crosby R, Johnson M, Jennings Mayo-Wilson L, Arroyo C, Machinga R, Brewer R, Srivastava A, Smith A, Arnold E. Socio-Ecological Influences on HIV Care Engagement: Perspectives of Young Black Men Who Have Sex with Men Living with HIV in the Southern US. Journal of racial and ethnic health disparities 2022. PMID: 35976604

  7. Arnold EA, Campbell CK, Koester KA. The innovative use of qualitative and mixed methods research to advance improvements along the HIV prevention and care continua. "HIV within the House Ball Community and the Promise of Community-based Social Structures for Intervention and Support" 2022. PMID: 35067594

  8. Koester KA, Fuller SM, Steward WT, Arnold EA. Impacts of COVID-19 on HIV/AIDS-Related Services in California. Journal of the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care 2022. PMID: 36214179

  9. Arnold EA, Saberi P, Wong JO, Pollack LM, Neilands TB, Benjamin M, Lockett G, Kegeles SM. We are Family: A Feasibility and Acceptability Study of an HIV Prevention Intervention With the House Ball and Gay Family Communities. "HIV within the House Ball Community and the Promise of Community-based Social Structures for Intervention and Support" 2021. PMID: 34757987

  10. Sterrett-Hong EM, DeBow J, Caton E, Harris M, Brewer R, Roberts E, Marchal M, Tauzer M, Arnold EA. Non-parental Adults and Sexual Health Behaviors Among Young Minority Men: A Qualitative Examination. "HIV within the House Ball Community and the Promise of Community-based Social Structures for Intervention and Support" 2021. PMID: 35027894

  11. Kim HC, Pollack LM, Saberi P, Neilands TB, Arnold EA, Bright DJ, Williams RW, Kegeles SM, Tan JY. Study protocol: a pilot randomised waitlist-controlled trial of a dyadic mobile health intervention for black sexual-minority male couples with HIV in the USA. BMJ open 2021. PMID: 34475191

  12. Riano NS, Borowsky HM, Arnold EA, Olfson M, Walkup JT, Vittinghoff E, Cournos F, Dawson L, Bazazi AR, Crystal S, Mangurian C. HIV Testing and Counseling at U.S. Substance Use Treatment Facilities: A Missed Opportunity for Early Identification. Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.) 2021. PMID: 34126780

  13. Sudler A, Cournos F, Arnold E, Koester K, Riano NS, Dilley J, Liu A, Mangurian C. The case for prescribing PrEP in community mental health settings. The lancet. HIV 2021. PMID: 33493438

  14. Gamarel KE, Jadwin-Cakmak L, King WM, Lacombe-Duncan A, Trammell R, Reyes LA, Burks C, Rivera B, Arnold E, Harper GW. Stigma Experienced by Transgender Women of Color in Their Dating and Romantic Relationships: Implications for Gender-based Violence Prevention Programs. Journal of interpersonal violence 2020. PMID: 33256510

  15. Koester KA, Saberi P, Fuller SM, Arnold EA, Steward WT. Attitudes about community pharmacy access to HIV prevention medications in California. Journal of the American Pharmacists Association : JAPhA 2020. PMID: 32665097

  16. Fuller SM, Steward WT, Martinez O, Arnold EA. Medical-Legal Partnerships to Support Continuity of Care for Immigrants Impacted by HIV: Lessons Learned from California. Journal of immigrant and minority health 2019. PMID: 31332651

  17. Maiorana A, Kegeles SM, Brown S, Williams R, Arnold EA. Substance use, intimate partner violence, history of incarceration and vulnerability to HIV among young Black men who have sex with men in a Southern US city. Culture, health & sexuality 2020. PMID: 31944158

  18. Vincent W, Sevelius J, Lippman SA, Linnemayr S, Arnold EA. Identifying Opportunities for Collaboration Across the Social Sciences to Reach the 10-10-10: A Multilevel Approach. Journal of acquired immune deficiency syndromes (1999) 2019. PMID: 31658198

  19. Arnold EA, Kegeles SM, Pollack LM, Neilands TB, Cornwell SM, Stewart WR, Benjamin M, Weeks J, Lockett G, Smith CD, Operario D. A Randomized Controlled Trial to Reduce HIV-Related Risk in African American Men Who Have Sex with Men and Women: the Bruthas Project. Prevention science : the official journal of the Society for Prevention Research 2019. PMID: 30478804

  20. Arnold EA, Fuller S, Kirby V, Steward WT. The Impact Of Medicaid Expansion On People Living With HIV And Seeking Behavioral Health Services. Health affairs (Project Hope) 2018. PMID: 30179563

  21. Arnold, EA and Bailey, MM. Understanding Prevention for HIV Positive Gay Men: Innovative Approaches in Addressing the AIDS Epidemic, Leo Wilton, Editor "HIV within the House Ball Community and the Promise of Community-based Social Structures for Intervention and Support" 2017. PMID:

  22. Carrico AW, Storholm ED, Flentje A, Arnold EA, Pollack LM, Neilands TB, Rebchook GM, Peterson JL, Eke A, Johnson W, Kegeles SM. Spirituality/religiosity, substance use, and HIV testing among young black men who have sex with men. Drug and alcohol dependence 2017. PMID: 28319751

  23. Woolf-King SE, Anger A, Arnold EA, Weiss SJ, Teitel D. Mental Health Among Parents of Children With Critical Congenital Heart Defects: A Systematic Review. Journal of the American Heart Association 2017. PMID: 28151402

  24. Arnold EA, Weeks J, Benjamin M, Stewart WR, Pollack LM, Kegeles SM, Operario D. Identifying social and economic barriers to regular care and treatment for Black men who have sex with men and women (BMSMW) and who are living with HIV: a qualitative study from the Bruthas cohort. BMC health services research 2017. PMID: 28129757

  25. Sevelius JM, Keatley J, Calma N, Arnold E. 'I am not a man': Trans-specific barriers and facilitators to PrEP acceptability among transgender women. Global Public Health 2016. PMID: 26963756

  26. Arnold EA, Steward WT. HIV transmission in MSM: considerations for PrEP scale-up. The lancet. HIV 2016. PMID: 26847227

  27. Arnold EA, Operario D, Cornwell S, Benjamin M, Smith CD, Lockett G, Kegeles SM. The Development of a Counseling-Based HIV Prevention Intervention for African American Men Who Have Sex With Men and Women: The Bruthas Project. AIDS education and prevention : official publication of the International Society for AIDS Education 2015. PMID: 26595264

  28. Kegeles SM, Rebchook G, Tebbetts S, Arnold E. Facilitators and barriers to effective scale-up of an evidence-based multilevel HIV prevention intervention. Implementation science : IS 2015. PMID: 25889582

  29. Kirby, V, Steward, WT, Arnold, EA. California AIDS Policy Center Report Examining California’s Office of AIDS Health Insurance Premium Payment Program: Barriers and facilitators to establishing and maintaining comprehensive insurance coverage for Californians living with HIV/AIDS 2015. PMID:

  30. Binson,D, Arnold, EA, Woods, WJ, Danley, D, Lightfoot, MA, and Neilands, TB. Mentoring Institute conference proceedings Mentoring Early Career Investigators in HIV/STI Health Disparities Research 2013. PMID:

  31. Galindo GR, Walker JJ, Hazelton P, Lane T, Steward WT, Morin SF, Arnold EA. Community member perspectives from transgender women and men who have sex with men on pre-exposure prophylaxis as an HIV prevention strategy: implications for implementation. Implementation science : IS 2012. PMID: 23181780

  32. Arnold EA, Hazelton P, Lane T, Christopoulos KA, Galindo GR, Steward WT, Morin SF. A qualitative study of provider thoughts on implementing pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in clinical settings to prevent HIV infection. PloS one 2012. PMID: 22792384

  33. Sheran, NT, and Arnold, EA. Fairy godmothers and guardian angels: A qualitative study of gay mentorship relationships Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services 2012. PMID:

  34. Saleh LD, Operario D, Smith CD, Arnold E, Kegeles S. "We're going to have to cut loose some of our personal beliefs": barriers and opportunities in providing HIV prevention to African American men who have sex with men and women. AIDS education and prevention : official publication of the International Society for AIDS Education 2011. PMID: 22201236

  35. Foster ML, Arnold E, Rebchook G, Kegeles SM. 'It's my inner strength': spirituality, religion and HIV in the lives of young African American men who have sex with men. Culture, health & sexuality 2011. PMID: 21824017

  36. Operario D, Smith CD, Arnold E, Kegeles S. The Bruthas Project: evaluation of a community-based HIV prevention intervention for African American men who have sex with men and women. AIDS education and prevention : official publication of the International Society for AIDS Education 2010. PMID: 20166786

  37. Arnold EA, Galindo, GG, Gaffney, S, Steward, W, Morin, S. California AIDS Policy Center Report Examining the Impact of the HIV-related State Budget Cuts: Comparing Alameda, Fresno, and Los Angeles Counties 2010. PMID:

  38. Operario D, Smith CD, Arnold E, Kegeles S. Sexual risk and substance use behaviors among African American men who have sex with men and women. AIDS and behavior 2009. PMID: 19572194

  39. Arnold EA, Bailey MM. Constructing Home and Family: How the Ballroom Community Supports African American GLBTQ Youth in the Face of HIV/AIDS. Journal of gay & lesbian social services 2009. PMID: 23136464

  40. Eyre SL, Arnold E, Peterson E, Strong T. Romantic relationships and their social context among gay/bisexual male youth in the Castro District of San Francisco. Journal of homosexuality 2007. PMID: 18689189