Kate Muessig

Dr. Muessig in action.

Active Projects Countries Publications  |  Contact  |  CV



Kate Muessig, PhD

Assistant Professor, Health Behavior

Dr. Muessig is a public health interventionist and social scientist who studies the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections among at-risk populations in the U.S. and China, including migrant workers, men who have sex with men and sex workers.  Read More

As a 2007 UNC Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholar, Dr. Muessig received two years of training at the Chinese National Center for STD and Leprosy Control in Nanjing, China  under UNC’s Dr. Myron Cohen and adjunct professor Xiang-Sheng Chen. Her research focused on the use of qualitative methods to investigate linkages between sexual health, migration and work through the study of relational histories of migrant men who find work selling sex in three Chinese cities. She was also the recipient of a pre-doctoral Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Domestically, Dr. Muessig’s research has centered on improving the provision of mental and physical health services for vulnerable populations. Her previous experience includes serving as a research assistant for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and as a research consultant for George Washington University’s School of Health Policy and Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. She joined the Department of Health Behavior after an NIH-supported postdoctoral research fellowship with UNC’s Institute for Global Health and Infectious Disease. Her current work is primarily focused on developing interventions to address the prevention and care of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases in the U.S. and China.

Active Projects

Partnership for Social Science Research on HIV/AIDS in China

(PI: Henderson, NIH/NICHD, 1R24HD056670

This multi-institution partnership aimed to increase the collaborative research and training among social, behavioral and public health researchers in China in order to broaden the capacity for multidisciplinary HIV prevention and care research. I am conducting a formative research study with HIV-positive MSM in China to assess unmet health care needs and identify points of intervention for increasing linkage and retention in HIV care. The goal of this sub-project is to inform the design of a new linkage to care pilot intervention.

HEALTHMPOWERMENT.ORG: An online and mobile HIV intervention for young Black MSM

(PI: Hightow-Weidman, NIMH, 5R01MH093275)

HMP is a web and mobile phone based intervention for young, Black MSM in North Carolina currently undergoing a two-arm, 12 month randomized controlled trial. I previously led formative research components including focus groups and in-depth interviews to inform the development of HMP. I now support the RCT phase of the project and lead a supplemental study to assess the potential for HMP to address the multiple types of stigma these population faces. My future plans work toward translating this intervention for use among Chinese MSM. I have conducted formative work on the feasibility for this adaptation in China and we have completed a 1330 person internet-based survey assessing HIV testing and risk behaviors, technology ownership and use and preferences for using technologies to promote sexual health.

Epic Allies: a mobile phone app to improve HIV adherence among young Black MSM

(PI: Hightow-Weidman, NIMH, 1R43 MH102096-01)

This is a small business innovation research fund to develop the prototype of a smartphone application (app) that uses skill-building, social support and gamification principles to increase daily medication adherence among HIV-positive young, Black MSM. I conduct formative research and work with our outside technology consultants to support the development and testing of this app. Ultimately, if effective, this app could be adapted for other populations and conditions that need daily medication management.


  • China
  • United States